Markevych: Metalist have a 50% chance of beating Newcastle

The Ukrainian side travel to St James' Park for their Europa League last-32 clash on Thursday evening, and the Vynnyky-born boss is expecting a challenge encounter

Metalist Kharkiv boss Myron Markevych has insisted his side must be at their best if they are to beat Newcastle in their Europa League meeting on Thursday.

The Ukrainians are set to take on the Magpies at St James' Park in the first leg of their last-32 clash having not played a competitive match since December 12 due to the winter break.

And the 62-year-old coach knows his team cannot play poorly despite their recent inaction if they are to get beyond Alan Pardew's men.

"We have a 50 per cent chance of winning and Newcastle have a 50 per cent chance," Markevych told reporters.

"For us, it is very important to play a good game and if we do that, everything will be okay. But if we play badly, Newcastle will win."

Although the Newcastle's starting XI is likely to be packed with their latest French recruits, Markevych is expecting an English approach to the game.

"There should be no doubt here - this is an English team," he continued.

"The French players will help, but this is an English team and it will be a great pleasure for us to play against this English team, Newcastle United.