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Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pardew preparing for landmark match

Wednesday's match will be Alan Pardew's 150th game in charge of Newcastle
Wednesday's match will be Alan Pardew's 150th game in charge of Newcastle

Alan Pardew will send Newcastle into battle for the 150th time on Wednesday evening desperate to end the club's trophy drought before he reaches another landmark.

The Magpies have secured a fifth-placed Barclays Premier League finish and enjoyed an extended run in Europe during the 52-year-old's reign to date.

However, a lack of success in the domestic cup competitions has extended their wait for silverware to 45 years and counting, and led some fans to accuse the club of putting top-flight survival ahead of the quest for trophies.

But Pardew, still smarting from a third successive derby defeat by Sunderland which came at the end of another hugely frustrating transfer window, insists ending the famine is a priority.

He said: "It's a job in which the passion from the fans just can't help but inspire you, and I have enjoyed 90 per cent of my time here.

"But I have lost some emotional games, Sunderland games and the cup games - they are tough to take when you are the manager of this team and you are desperate to win a trophy.

"But my overall feeling is one of pride. I think we have done a good job. We have produced some fantastic football and had some unbelievable results.

"We had a high finish two years ago, a quarter-final of the Europa League and hopefully this year, a strong finish, so I am proud of that.

"But the most important thing is the next game and then in the period after that and before I reach the next landmark, 200 games, hopefully a trophy of some description that our fans are desperate for and, in my opinion, thoroughly deserve."

That timescale may prove difficult, but in the shorter term, Pardew will consider the current league campaign a success if he can guide Newcastle into a position where they finish ahead of reigning champions Manchester United, something they are yet to do in the Premier League era.

David Moyes' men are currently four points better off than the Magpies after allowing victory over Fulham to slip from their grasp on Sunday, and the Magpies' boss is hoping to take advantage of that.

Pardew said: "You are never safe from relegation, in my opinion, until you have 40 points in the bag, so we are not safe.

"But there's always an incentive in football, always. Your professional pride is the minimum.

"But the result at Manchester United yesterday was a result that cheered me up because if gives us a chance to try to catch them, and if we try to finish above Manchester United, that would be a hell of an achievement for this club regardless of anything else.

"That's the immediate incentive for us, and then we will see where it takes us."

Newcastle have a chance to close that gap when Tottenham head for St James' Park, although Pardew will once against have selection problems with striker Loic Remy completing his three-match ban and Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy, Cheick Tiote, Yoan Gouffran and Papiss Cisse all injury doubts.

He will hope for better news about several of his walking wounded on Tuesday, and he could certainly do with some after a chaotic few weeks in which, on top of everything that happened at senior level, saw reserve team manager Willie Donachie resign amid allegations that he hit one of his players.

Pardew said: "It was an unfortunate situation and it was out of the personality trait of Willie Donachie, who is a fantastic coach.

"We have now had to lose him, and that's a bit of a blow to us, but we have good coaches here and we like to think we put down the right foundations for success.

"All the players that have come here have improved - I can't think of one who hasn't - and that's the most important thing when you are looking at your coaching strategy, and we take that forward."

Press Association

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