Injury woes continue for Newcastle
Published 24/03/2014 | 17:12
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew's selection problems show few signs of abating as he prepares to complete his stadium ban with the visit of Everton to St James' Park on Tuesday evening.
Midfielder Sammy Ameobi will be missing with an ankle problem and will join full-back Davide Santon on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from the bout of tonsillitis which prevented him from taking part in Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Crystal Palace.
The Italian, however, could return for the weekend trip to Southampton, although both full-back Mathieu Debuchy (groin) and striker Loic Remy (calf) are likely to sit out both games.
Pardew, whose three-game stadium ban will end after this game, will concentrate on the task of easing the club as far up the Barclays Premier League table as he can over the course of the remaining eight games of the campaign.
The Magpies sit in eighth place on 46 points after Saturday's late 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, but the manager will not allow anyone to relax as they approach the run-in, with European qualification now looking beyond their grasp barring a grandstand finish.
Pardew said: "I had a letter from one of our fans this week saying they have been proud of the team since we got 40 points because it's very difficult.
"You look at the history of the Premier League - teams hit 40 points and switch off. Well, we have not done that.
"We will just keep fighting away and trying to achieve the best possible results we can for our fans. We have got the best fans in the country and we want to do the best for them."
Saturday's win, which was secured by striker Papiss Cisse's header in the fourth-minute of injury time, was greeted deliriously by assistant manager John Carver on the sidelines and the bulk of a crowd of 51,588 at St James' Park.
The celebrations were just as intense at the training ground, where Pardew was watching by video-link.
He said with a smile: "Me and the analyst had a little cuddle and a jump around the room because up until that point, it had been frustrating."
Newcastle will once again be without injured duo Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy, while full-back Davide Santon is recovering from the after-effects of a bout of tonsillitis and midfielder Sammy Ameobi has an ankle problem.
However, Pardew is hoping his available players produce the kind of performance they did in the second half at Goodison Park in September rather than they one they did in the first, when they trailed 3-0 before losing 3-2.
He said: "Some of these big clubs can make you all at sea, and Everton did that.
"But in the second half we were terrific and we showed Everton that they shouldn't underestimate us, and I don't think they will."
Everton have not won away from home in the league since beating Swansea on December 22 and Roberto Martinez admits that form has to change if they are to maintain their challenge for European football.
He has a late decision to make on whether to recall fit-again defender Phil Jagielka after a four-match absence.
"It is not a frustration. It is important we learn from it and we assess it," Martinez said.
"When you have to face four of the top five sides away from home it will be difficult, but looking at the performances they were encouraging and brave.
"It will allow us to develop into a team who can go anywhere in the league and win.
"We have been able to get the points at home, and now it is very important we get as many we can in the final nine games of the season.
"We need to try to get a very good performance because the away-points return in the last four or five has been disappointing."