Pardew aware of his position
Published 26/04/2014 | 13:37
Under-pressure Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admits he is not surprised to see other managers linked with his job after a disastrous run of results.
The 52-year-old has been thrust into the spotlight amid a dreadful spell of form which has seen his side slip to five consecutive Barclays Premier League defeats.
The ink on David Moyes' P45 had barely dried after he was shown the door by Manchester United this week when he was being installed as the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Pardew at St James' Park, while sources on Tyneside also moved to quell speculation that Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis was being lined up for an imminent vacancy.
But while shouldering his share of the blame for a season which has unravelled alarmingly since Christmas, Pardew remains philosophical.
He said: "When you lose five games in the Premier League, if you can't accept that there's going to be some speculation about your job, then you are not being realistic.
"I have to be realistic, but what I won't do is focus away from what I do. I have worked really hard this week with the team and really focussed on the team to make sure we put a performance in at Arsenal that we can be proud of."
Monday night's trip to the Emirates Stadium may not represent, on paper at least, the most promising of opportunities to right the wrongs of recent weeks, but it is one Pardew insists he relishes.
His relationship with large sections of the Magpies support - he is the public face of the club with owner Mike Ashley and newly-appointed managing director Lee Charnley maintaining low profiles - has become increasingly fractious with some supporters unfurling banners calling for his head during the recent 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
However, the criticism has made Pardew even more determined to get it right.
He said: "It always has. The situation, the longer-term here, looks good, but in the short term, we need to put it right."
Putting it right is likely to mean a major overhaul of the squad during the summer, and it remains to be seen whether or not Pardew is the man to whom Ashley will hand that task.
But as long as he is in the hot-seat, he will continue to plan for a transfer window in which he will seek to belatedly replace Yohan Cabaye and significantly strengthen a squad in which a lack of depth has been exposed during the last two seasons.
That was a point made forcefully by experienced striker Shola Ameobi this week, and it is one with which Pardew agrees wholeheartedly.
He said: "Shola is an experienced player at this football club. We all know he is somebody who has a good knowledge of the game and a good knowledge of this football club.
"He knows there's an improvement we just need to make since we lost Yohan in the last window. We definitely need to go back to that level at least next year, and I think we can."
Ameobi scored his first league goal for 16 months in last weekend's 2-1 home defeat by Swansea, and he could have another chance at Arsenal with fellow frontman Papiss Cisse and Luuk de Jong ruled out through injury.
However, midfielders Moussa Sissoko and Hatem Ben Arfa are available once again and will join Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy, who appeared as substitutes against the Swans, in the squad.
There will be a welcome return to the touchline too for Pardew, who has completed his touchline ban, and he is promising a more relaxed approach.
He said: "I think I will sit down a little bit more, but I still will be on the touchline. It's important that the team sees I'm there - we are a team and I am part of that.
"I have thought about my situation going forward and I think I will be better for it."