Every day, Mark Cocker sits at his desk inside the Theatre of Dreams. But it's the black-and-white stripes of Newcastle that occupy a special place in his heart. He sat down with ManUtd.com to provide an opposition view on Sunday's match.
What have you made of Newcastle's start to the season? Have you hit top gear yet?
No chance. What proved key to our amazing start last season was the consistency of players in the side. The opening game this season, against Spurs, was just like watching the previous campaign, but since then we’ve lost a number of key players and have had to squeeze Europa League games into our schedule.
Different players will be involved but do you think last week's Capital One Cup match gave any indications about how Sunday's game might pan out?
Not really. Last Wednesday was a lot about giving players minutes on the pitch. That said, there were some big plus points: Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote got a runout, for example. Oh, and Papiss Cisses got back on the scoresheet. Did you see that overhead kick, by the way?
Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse score plenty of goals, but who's Newcastle's unsung hero?
"Perchinho" [that's James Perch to the rest of the football world] proved many Toon fans wrong last season, including myself. On our final push he proved dependable in every position he played and showed us why the manager had kept faith in him all that time. Personally, I’m happy if all our players are unsung heroes. If they stay out of the limelight it means there's less paper speculation on their “imminent departure”.
What do the fans expect from Newcastle this season?
Personally, I'm not excepting us to push for Champions League qualification. It’s just a case of stepping up to the next level and trying to get the most out of a lot of games… we're in the Premier league, the Europa League and the FA Cup. Squad fitness and steering clear of injuries will be key, as I don’t expect us to buy big in January.
Danny Simpson didn't quite make the grade at Old Trafford. How's he done at St James' Park?
For me he's been one of the constants that’s helped the team progress. He played a lot of games last season and saved/gained a fair few points. Danny’s nickname should be "off the line": he's always making last-ditch blocks! I really hope Danny and the club can come to an