Pardew urges Magpies to keep top-four focus

Ben Rumsby

ALAN Pardew warned his Newcastle players they had to take today's home match with Bolton as seriously as Friday's trip to Swansea if they were to stay on course to gatecrash the Premier League top four.

Good Friday saw Pardew's men win at what is widely regarded as one of the toughest places to go in the top flight when they ran out 2-0 victors at the Liberty Stadium.

Newcastle were expected to follow that up with another three points against a Bolton side who have lost 10 times on the road this season. But Magpies boss Pardew was wary of opponents that recorded a hat-trick of league wins before yesterday's 3-0 home defeat to Fulham as his own side eye a fifth successive top-flight win for the first time for six years.

"They are a serious threat," Pardew said.

"Owen Coyle has just won Manager of the Month and rightly so. They are re-harnessed and it will be a tough game."

Pardew admitted having an extra day to prepare would give Newcastle "a slight advantage in preparation" as they looked to reclaim fifth place from Chelsea and also to remain within striking distance of Tottenham and Arsenal.

Pardew still has defensive injury concerns but his side have responded magnificently to the problem, keeping two clean sheets in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini.

He said of his makeshift back four: "They know the job they have to do and they see it through.

"We have people doing the best possible job and that's giving us the chance to win games. Monday will be tricky for us as we are short of personnel - there are seven or eight in the treatment room."

That would be of far more concern were Newcastle - or more precisely Papiss Cisse - not scoring goals.

Senegal striker Cisse has made one of the biggest impacts of any January signing in Premier League history and was aiming to take his goalscoring tally to double figures in what would be just his ninth game for the club.