FOOTBALL NEWS

24/12/2012 13:00, Report by Nick Coppack
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Evans expects Toon test

Jonny Evans anticipates a busy day at the office should he be selected by Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United's Boxing Day fixture against Newcastle United.

The 24 year-old, who signed a new contract last week to keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2016, says the Magpies' Senegalese strikeforce is one of the toughest in the Barclays Premier League.

Between them, Demba Ba (11) and Papiss Cisse (four) have netted 15 times this term and both have previous history against the Reds. Cisse scored in the Capital One Cup game at Old Trafford in September, while Ba struck in both league fixtures last season.

"They are both very powerful," Evans told ManUtd.com and PA Sport. "What Newcastle do very well is work the ball wide and put it in the box. They don't give you a minute and those two are powerful lads.

"A lot of their goals come that way, when they beat people in the air and the ball is floating around in the box. The goal record between them is what got Newcastle to the position they finished in last year."

In this season's fixture at St James' Park, Sir Alex's men won 3-0 in a match many fans still hail as one of the Reds' finest performances of the year. United got off to a flier, scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes. But Evans, who netted United's first goal that day, was more impressed with his side's efforts at the other end of the pitch.

"In the last couple of seasons we've gone away to places like Newcastle and either lost or drawn," he said. "So it was very important to win and we were well prepared.

"We knew how well Newcastle played in the previous season [when they beat us 3-0]. They had Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, who can really hurt you.

"But we went there with the right mindset and defended well. We had great shape and got two early goals. It was probably one of our best defensive performances of the season."

Sir Alex will hope the Reds' displays improve further following the return of Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian centre-back

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