Toon boss Glenn Roeder told the Evening Chronicle: “We need Nicky Butt to bring all his European experience with England, Manchester United and now Newcastle United with us.
“He is suspended from Sunday’s game with Charlton Athletic at The Valley so I am looking for another big game from him tomorrow night.
“But it isn’t only Nicky Butt. We have a lot of experienced players at both international and club level in our squad tomorrow night, with the likes of Damien Duff, Shay Given, Scotty Parker, Oba Martins and Kieron Dyer.
“And having said that, we know that we must not carry any passengers tomorrow night and hopefully we won’t. We have got to get after AZ all over the pitch because we don’t want them controlling the game with eight or nine passes.
“But for me the crux of tomorrow’s game is for us to gain control in midfield through Nicky Butt and Scott Parker, which to be fair, they did for the majority of the game at St James’ Park last Thursday night.
“We have got to stay tight and compact and make it hard for AZ to play through us. And we need everyone to be strong mentally, and perhaps more important, we need everyone to be at their best.”