Remy and Debuchy could return
Published 18/04/2014 | 16:37
Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy could return to the Newcastle squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Swansea.
Striker Remy (calf) and full-back Debuchy (groin) have both missed the last six matches, and the Magpies have lost five of those games and scored only once in the process.
Moussa Sissoko (hamstring) is back running, but still some way from a return, while fellow midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is struggling to shake off the dead leg he picked up in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
Manager Alan Pardew is being driven by the fear of failure as he attempts to prevent Newcastle's season spiralling further out of control.
The 52-year-old found himself firmly in the firing line when the loss at Stoke riled fans who have seen their team win just four of their last 17 Premier League games and lose 11 of those.
However, Pardew is refusing to buckle under the pressure of a disapproving public and a malfunctioning team.
He said: "What drives managers, as much as success sometimes, is failure, because with your pride and experience you have had and the knowledge you have, you want to put it right.
"The drive is just as much either way. We always say when you are winning, you are at your weakest.
"You have got different scenarios. At the moment, it is a tough scenario, make no mistake about that. It's been tough on me this week, the pressure of carrying the team.
"But I have had it before and come through it and I hope to come through it again."
The more determined of Pardew's critics at the Britannia Stadium arrived prepared, brandishing banners calling for the manager's head.
That did not go unnoticed by their target, but simply increased his determination to get it right.
Pardew said: "I felt disappointed, of course. I don't want to see those type of banners from my own fans.
"I have been here three years and there have been some really, really good days and there have been some tough days too.
"At this moment in time, it's tough and I have got to be strong, and I am strong in my mentality to take this club forward."
Swansea will be without suspended defender Chico Flores.
Flores starts a ban following his sending-off in last weekend's 1-0 Liberty Stadium defeat against title-chasing Chelsea.
Jordi Amat looks set to deputise, while striker Michu faces a fitness test on his swollen ankle, having missed the Blues game.
Manager Garry Monk accepts that Swansea have hit "crunch time" in their quest to preserve their Premier League status.
The Swans head to Newcastle following successive 1-0 defeats against Hull and Chelsea that mean they are just three points clear of relegation danger with four games left.
Monk's men have won only two league games since he moved into the coaching hot-seat vacated by a sacked Michael Laudrup in early February, drawing three and losing five.
But after Cardiff, Fulham and Sunderland - three of the five clubs below Swansea - all collected points from their latest league outings, head coach Monk knows the survival battle has intensified.
"We've been looking over our shoulder for a while," Monk said.
"It's a serious situation, but we know that and we are trying to get points on the board as soon as we can. The club, staff, players all know it. This is crunch time and we need to get points on the board.
"We've been far too inconsistent. When we hit heights we can be unplayable, but when we perform badly we are very bad.
"It has been like that this year and has put us in this situation, but we have enough quality and togetherness to make sure we are safe. But talk is cheap, and we have to put it right and show it in the last four games."