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Pardew bracing his Magpies for Rovers backlash

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is bracing himself for a tough test when he takes his side to Blackburn in the Carling Cup tonight.

Pardew's men have enjoyed a fine start to the new season and have yet to lose a game, while Rovers are struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League.

As a result, manager Steve Kean has come in for criticism from the club's fans, but Pardew is paying little attention to that. And to back up his point, he cited the example of how Wolves manager Mick McCarthy turned jeers into cheers against Swansea last weekend.

"As Mick McCarthy proved with Wolves at the weekend, sometimes just one little thing can change the whole dynamics of something," Pardew said.

"I expect Wolves and Mick to kick on from that and that's what Steve Kean will be looking for; just something to grab hold of and to kick on from.


"I think it's very important that they get a result so I think they'll be very strong. It's a cup tie and at the level we're playing at, there's going to be nothing between us so it's about desire.

"They have an advantage. They're the home side; penalties, extra time would be on their pitch, so it's a tough game for us."

Pardew could be forgiven for taking his eye off the ball in the cup competitions with his side sitting fourth in the Premier League. But the manager, whose men are level on points with Chelsea, is more, not less, determined to challenge in cup competitions.

"You can only strive for (cups) if you've got success in the Premier League, because the stability of the football club depends on the stability in the Premier League," Pardew added.

Villa suspend Bannan over car crash probe

Barry Bannan has been suspended by Aston Villa while the club carry out an internal inquiry after the midfielder was involved in a motorway car crash during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Villa will not consider the Scottish international for selection for Saturday's Premier League clash with Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light.

Bannan was arrested by police on suspicion on drink driving -- along with Shrewsbury striker James Collins, a former Villa player -- and subsequently bailed.

Villa boss Alex McLeish, in a media statement, said: "Barry Bannan has been suspended while the club carries out internal enquiries into allegations which arose last weekend. He will not be available for this weekend's game at Sunderland."

Villa confirmed on Monday that they had launched an investigation -- with Bannan not participating in an open training session at Villa Park -- and have now opted to suspend the player.