Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is expecting his side to come up against a “very resilient” Crystal Palace team this weekend.
The Eagles fly north for the second time in eight days, looking to build on last weekend’s point at Sunderland with another morale-boosting result at St James’ Park.
And Pardew is full of praise for the work Tony Pulis has done in SE25 as Palace scrap to stay in the Barclays Premier League.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Pardew said: “Tony's confidence and ability has pulled that team to within a fighting chance, because now they have a fighting chance of staying up. They'll be showing that on the pitch.
“They were very good at Sunderland, very resilient. They had a good performance at Sunderland and I don't expect them to be much different really.”
Pardew will serve the second game of his stadium ban when his former club come to town this weekend and he knows his players will need to improve on last week’s display in the 1-0 defeat to Fulham if they are to get a result against Palace.
"They will be fighting and scrapping, and Tony's teams are always very, very sure in terms of their jobs,” Pardew added.
“We need to come up with some more imagination than we did against Fulham, and some more cutting edge to our play.
“Most of our play was pretty good against Fulham, but the last third, unfortunately, wasn't good enough.”
The Magpies boss hopes that cause will be helped by the return of playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa, who hasn’t pulled on the black and white stripes since the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham on 12th February.
Commenting on the Frenchman’s return to fitness, Pardew said: “He's back into the squad and he looked a bit sharper and brighter, which is good news for us.”