Pardew not Best pleased by players' off-field antics
Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00
Leon Best is in hot water with manager Alan Pardew after being snapped on the town with two Irish colleagues before Saturday's Premier League defeat to Stoke.
The striker failed a fitness test on an ankle problem and therefore missed the trip to the Britannia Stadium.
However, Pardew was unimpressed when photos circulated of Best out on the town with Stephen Ireland -- another player currently on the sidelines -- and Galway-born reserve team midfielder Stephen Folan.
Photos of the trio baring their torsos were circulated on the internet after appearing on the Facebook page of Newcastle nightspot Tup Tup Palace.
Pardew was asked about the snaps after his side's humiliating 4-0 reverse at the hands of Stoke, and said he will investigate the matter further today.
"This is a situation I will have to look at on Monday," he said, "It's news to me. Certainly, it is not ideal on the eve of a match, even if you are not playing. I'll have to look at that."
Best -- who has shone for Newcastle since taking his chance after the departure of Andy Carroll -- has now emerged as a doubt for Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia next Saturday. He was targeting a spot in the starting XI on the basis of his fine form at club level, although he faces strong competition from Shane Long and Jonathan Walters in the queue behind first choice pair, Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle.
Best missed last month's Carling Nations Cup win over Wales through injury, potentially a costly absence given that Walters -- who scored for Stoke on Saturday -- impressed in the game. However, Pardew has hinted that he could miss this gathering too, suggesting that he might only return for Newcastle a fortnight from now in the Premier League against Wolves.
"He (Best) tried to train on Friday but was no good. He had an injection in his ankle and he'll be ok, we think, for Wolves." Best is the latest Irish international left to deal with the consequences of his social behaviour leaking into the public domain.
Richard Dunne was fined by Aston Villa last week for engaging in a drunken row with coaching staff at a bonding session that was staged to boost team spirit.