FA Cup 5th round: Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers - Peter White's big match preview

ASHLEY Ward comes face to face again on Tyneside tomorrow with the man who wrecked his Wembley dreams - ex-Blackburn Rovers keeper Shay Given.

And, this time, the Ewood striker hopes it is his turn to come out on top as Newcastle United and Rovers scrap for a quarter-final place in the FA Cup.

Given and ex-Barnsley star Ward had their own personal showdown at St James's Park in last season's sixth round.

But it could turn out to have been just a rehearsal for tomorrow's all-Premiership clash in front of the Sky TV cameras.

With Newcastle leading Barnsley 2-1 and hanging on by their fingernails, Ward hit a shot that looked a certain equaliser until Given stepped in.

"Yes, I still remember it, it was a marvellous save," admitted the striker.

"At the time, we had them rocking and the game was finely balanced.

"But he is a very good goalkeeper."

Given himself didn't disguise the drama of the moment when he said: "It's probably the most important save I have ever made. "It came at a vital time in the game and it changed the whole match."

The general consensus was that, if Barnsley had equalised, they would have won. But Newcastle went on to reach Wembley and Alan Shearer said: "Shay Given won that match for us."

Having broken his own scoring duck and helped Rovers claim their first Premiership away win of the season at Aston Villa, Ward will continue his partnership with Chris Sutton and cause to be optimistic of putting one over Given this time.

Spirits are high in the camp and Ward explained: "I think the gaffer's strong on that. He wants everyone to work hard and that showed against Villa.

"No matter how talented you are, you don't get results without working as hard as we did at Villa.

"I have been here five games now and every game has been very much hard work.

"It's great playing with Chris. He is an experienced striker who knows what the game's about.

"He's a tall lad as well and it takes a bit of the pressure off. You get battered going for the first ball but you can share it around a bit when there are two of you." Two's company but three, including Matt Jansen, certainly wasn't a crowd for Ward who enjoyed the re-inforcements Rovers boss Brian Kidd was able to field at Villa Park.

How the manager plays it tomorrow will depend on who is available.

Kidd is sweating on three players, having already lost Jansen and Jason McAteer who are cup tied and Jason Wilcox to suspension.

Stephane Henchoz (thigh strain), Jeff Kenna (ankle) and Billy McKinlay (groin) all face late fitness tests but the manager is hopeful at least two of the three will make it.

Every match seems to bring a different problem but he does have Keith Gillespie and Nathan Blake in the reckoning again and Christian Dailly was back on the bench at Aston Villa.

"Week to week we seem to be hanging on to see if players are fit. But whoever has gone out there they have given it the full whack and that's all we can ask," said Kidd. Rovers are set to choose from: Filan, Kenna, Henchoz, Broomes, Peacock, Davidson, Gillespie, Dunn, McKinlay, Sutton, Ward, Dailly, Davies, Duff, Croft, Blake, Flowers.

Newcastle expect to welcome Frenchman Didier Domi back after hamstring trouble at full back.

Given missed training yesterday but should shake off a slight knock picked up on international duty. Alan Shearer returns after a one-match ban.

Their expected line-up is: Given, Griffin, Howey, Charvet, Domi, Solano, Hamman, Speed, Glass, Shearer, Ketsbaia. Subs from: Lee, Barton, Saha, Andersson, Georgiadis, Brady, Pearce, Dalglish, Harper.

The result Newcastle really don't want tomorrow is a draw. For they are booked in for a training trip to Portugal in the week a replay is scheduled.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.