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The north-east club start their European campaign in Portugal against Maritimo on Thursday, with the manager planning to use the competition as an opportunity to blood youngsters

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits he considers the Europa League "a complication" as his side side prepare to start their campaign against Maritimo on Thursday.

A number of key players have not travelled to Portugal for the clash as Newcastle look to qualify from a group that also includes Bordeaux and Club Bruges.

Newcastle reached the Europa League after finishing fifth in the Premier League last season, but Pardew does not see the competition as a priority and will use it as a platform to rest star players and blood youngsters into the team.

"The Europa league is a complication for us because of the amount of games we’ve got," Pardew told Goal.com. "We are prioritising the Premier League and the FA Cup, for sure.
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"We’ve got a great opportunity to blood players this year, local boys like [Shane] Ferguson and [Sammy] Ameobi. They came from our system so we’re looking forward to seeing them in the team.

"You have to build a group of players in which when you take one out and put another in, you don’t see the seam."

Alan Pardew is an ambassador for the Budweiser Club Futures programme that will see £1m invested into grassroots football over the next two seasons. Clubs wishing to apply for the grants should visit The FA website at www.TheFA.com/BudweiserClubFutures.

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