Bale ready for challenging opener
Gareth Bale is under no illusions about the challenge facing Spurs on the opening day of the new season as the team visit Newcastle.
The Welsh international believes the game will set down a marker as to the standards they must hit in order to improve on their fourth place finish last term, following this week's release of the fixtures for the 2012/2013 campaign. The Magpies themselves surpassed all expectations in fifth and Bale knows Alan Pardew's side will be anxious to prove it was no fluke by making a positive start in front of their own fans on August 18. Shola Ameobi denied Tottenham all three points last season in a 2-2 draw at the Sports Direct Arena with an 85th minute equaliser which maintained the North-East club's unbeaten start. The return game at White Hart Lane wasn't such a tight affair and Newcastle's players will remember that as they found themselves on the receiving end of a 5-0 thrashing. Bale told the club's official website: "It's important to get off to a good start. "It will be difficult, especially away from home, but it's a good early test for us. "Newcastle had a fine season. No-one really expected them to be right up there and maintain it throughout the season. "They all worked hard, they worked together and that counts a lot in football. They've some great players and it will be a case of keeping those players quiet and trying to impose our game plan." The manager-less Londoners are due to play their first home game of the new season a week later with West Brom providing the opposition under the guidance of new boss Steve Clarke.