The Magpies have made no secret in recent years that they regarded the domestic cup competitions – the club has won neither in 60 years – as a secondary priority to the Barclays Premier League, although owner Mike Ashley signalled a change in policy at the end of last season.
Asked what approach he is taking to the Capital One Cup, McClaren said: “Very serious. It can be a great boost for you.
“It’s another game and nobody – nobody – in football wants to lose a football match and they put a team out that can win that game, and that’s what we will be doing tomorrow.
“We’ll be putting our strongest team possible out, taking into account what happened on Saturday, taking into account there’s a game next Saturday, taking into account that we have got a very good squad.
“But tomorrow night’s team is strong enough and good enough to win the game. The attitude has to be right, though.”
McClaren won the League Cup in 2004 during his time at Middlesbrough and knows exactly what a repeat could mean on Tyneside.
However, he is refusing to dream just yet with a potentially tricky tie against League Two opposition to negotiate.
He said: “I remember when we did win it, we played Brighton and they were, I think, in the Third Division (they were in the Second Division) at the time.
“It went to extra-time and I think we won 1-0 with a flukey goal, and it was the best win of the run, it really was because the first one is the hardest, and you are not dreaming of anything, it’s the next game and we have got to win it.”