Newcastle stars touch down in Wellington

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 15:11 23/07/2014
ALEX LIU/stuff.co.nz

Newcastle FC arrive in Wellington ahead of their Saturday clash with the Wellington Phoenix.

Vurnon Anita
Getty
READY TO ROLL: Vurnon Anita and his Newcastle United teammates have arrived in Wellington ahead of Saturday's clash with the Phoenix.

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Newcastle United have landed in Wellington to a low-key reception with their game faces on.

The 44-strong English Premier League party arrived from Dunedin this afternoon fresh from spanking Sydney FC 4-0 last night in the opening game of the Football United Tour.

The Magpies will enjoy the obligatory tour of Weta Workshop during their stay in the capital but with the start of the EPL season less than a month away, this two-game trip is very much business, rather than pleasure.

Newcastle play the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday in front of an expected crowd of 30,000.

''We hope to score a lot of goals,'' said Newcastle midfielder Vurnon Anita, who has three caps for the Netherlands.

''It was a long trip indeed [from England] but we feel good... drink a lot of water, sleep and sleep and train hard. It's a new experience for me, I've never been down here so it's nice. We played very well [against Sydney] and we won so that's the most important thing and [that] we get our fitness. Of course there's always things to improve, little things but I think we did very well.

"We won 4-0 so I hope we can bring that to the next game.''

The Phoenix play West Ham United at Auckland's Eden Park tonight and Newcastle will hold an open training session at Newtown Park between 10.30am-midday tomorrow.

There was little fanfare for the millionaire footballers at the airport, with Australian Doug Haghey the lone fan present.

Haghey has travelled from Perth to support the team.

There had been hopes World Cup player Cheick Tiote would join his team-mates in Wellington but he will remain in England instead.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fielded a strong starting XI in Dunedin as new signings Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere and Ayoze Perez all looked sharp.

''Yes they did very well, Ayoze did very well, Emmanuel scored and Siem as well so I think they did good,'' said Anita, who displayed his own class at Forsyth Barr Stadium with a wicked turn past Sydney teenager Alex Gersbach.

''Everybody was very happy so that's a good thing... [Sydney] had a lot of the ball but I think our experience won the game. I don't know much [about the Phoenix] but we will analyse them.''

Sydney arrived in Wellington on the same flight as Newcastle.

Sydney coach Graham Arnold said All Whites striker Shane Smeltz, who sat out last night's game, was likely to feature in their game against West Ham on Saturday.

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