SAM Allardyce is determined to show Newcastle United fans what they are missing tonight but insists he bears no grudges towards the club after his troubled Toon tenure.

The Blackburn Rovers boss returns to St James’ Park for the first time since being sacked in January 2008, after just seven months in charge, and admits the lack of time he was given remains one of his biggest career regrets.

Allardyce is well aware he could be in for a rough ride this evening from the hostile Newcastle natives, who made it a miserable end to his reign, but admits the sound of their displeasure at the final whistle would be music to his ears.

FROM BACK PAGE Allardyce remains unpopular on Tyneside with a large section of the supporters but he insists the expectation up there is something all managers have to live with.

He said: “I think the crowd can decide what they want to do and that is up to them. I think they are more intent on supporting their team to try and win a game of football, rather than show a like or dislike for me.

“They may not like me if we are winning with five minutes to go. Who knows? You go back to places that you used to manage and you want to do well.

“I have managed to do that in the past. Newcastle came here when I took over at Blackburn and we managed to win and you are always very grateful for that.

“In the end you are always trying to show them what they are missing. Sometimes the crowd show their displeasure. It is not just me.

“All the managers who have been Newcastle United managers in the past have had the same. It is not personal to me, because it happened to Graeme Souness and even happened to Sir Bobby Robson.

“I knew what I was going to. Gary Speed used to tell me. He spent a long time there and told me how volatile it could be down there. I was prepared to accept that.”

Rovers face a daunting task this evening with newly promoted Newcastle on a three-match winning streak and well into the top half of the Premier League.

Allardyce insists he was heading in the right direction back during his time with the Geordies but prefers to focus on the future and his current task of steering Rovers away from the drop zone.

“If only is a big word in football,” said Allardyce. “Time has moved on, it has been three years in January since it happened. For whatever reason the decision was made. It was extremely disappointing at the time because I felt it was just beginning to start to get a good feel about it.

“The backroom staff was in place and we were ready to move forward on the playing side, get the squad stronger. We had had a great start top the season. I had 18 points in the first 10 games when I was there.

“Then it slipped away slightly, but we were ready to move on. I have no regrets in terms of me as a manager. I don’t hold any grudges against Newcastle because other than that they treated me the right way.

“They settled the compensation side of it almost immediately. I have to be very grateful for that because lots of managers don’t get that, and you move on.

“11 months later I have moved on to Blackburn, been here almost two years now, and apart from the tight financial restrictions I find the job extremely enjoyable to do. I enjoy working for this club.”