Pardew sticking by De Jong
Published 27/03/2014 | 16:07
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping striker Luuk de Jong can rebuild his shattered confidence to prove he has long-term future on Tyneside.
The 23-year-old joined the Magpies on loan from German club Borussia Monchengladbach in January having not started a single game this season at that point and without a goal in club football since April 6.
Pardew was ready to take a gamble on a man Newcastle had scouted extensively before being beaten to the punch by Monchengladbach 18 months earlier, although the Dutchman is yet to end his personal drought after eight appearances.
However, the 52 year-old is convinced there is more to come from the former FC Twente frontman as he decides whether or not to include him on his summer shopping list.
Pardew said: "It's important that his all-round game improves from where he is right now, but that will come with confidence and I can see him growing every day here.
"I know he likes the environment that he has found himself in, and players flourish when they start enjoying their football. Hopefully he can start doing that again because he had a tough time in Germany.
"I am trying to introduce him, trying to give him games where I think he can regain his confidence.
"He has had some good displays for us, but there is more to come and I hope between now and the end of the year, he shows that to our fans because we know at this club that we need strikers, and I am hoping he can tick a box for us between now and the end."
De Jong's next chance to impress could come at Southampton on Saturday with leading scorer Loic Remy missing once again with the calf injury which has forced him to sit out the last three games, although he is scheduled to return to full training on Monday.
However, full-back Mathieu Debuchy is unlikely to join him for some time yet with his groin problem ongoing.
Pardew said: "We think Remy will train on Monday. He is going to training over the weekend, so he has got a good chance for Manchester United.
"Mathieu, we think, will be a bit longer than that, maybe another couple of weeks."
Pardew should have left-back Davide Santon available after a bout of tonsillitis, but his selection problems show few signs of abating with keeper Tim Krul the latest to join the casualty list.
The Holland international damaged a knee during Tuesday night's 3-0 home defeat by Everton and could miss the next three games, with Republic of Ireland squad member Rob Elliot set to deputise.
Pardew said: "Tim won't play, he's out for these next two or three games for sure, so Rob Elliot will come in.
"He's got a bruise on the bone and we think it's a minimum of two weeks. But there is no cartilage damage, nothing structural.
"Rob has made his international squad and he is keen to stay in that squad and he needs to play, so the opportunity lands at his feet.
"Rob is a confident goalie and he will look to take that on."
Meanwhile, Pardew has admitted managers have to accept criticism even when they feel they do not deserve it after West Ham counterpart Sam Allardyce reacted with surprise to his team being booed after beating 10-man Hull on Wednesday evening.
The Newcastle manager said: "You just have to live with those days. They do happen on very rare occasions, that you win a game or you have had a great performance and the reaction of the crowd surprises you as a manager.
"You just have to accept it."