Pardew warns players that future on the line

Alan Pardew has admitted some of his players will be playing for their futures at Newcastle in the remaining 12 games of the season.

Alan Pardew

The Magpies have stalled in recent weeks with a run of three successive Barclays Premier League defeats seeing them lose touch with the top six.

Pardew is already planning a summer recruitment drive after losing key midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris St Germain last month, and with question marks hanging over several members of his current squad and others out of contract, there is likely to be a significant number of departures.

In the circumstances, the next three months could prove crucial for those men yet to nail down a first-team place, as well as those who have set their hearts on a trip to the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Asked if some are playing for their futures - there has been speculation over the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan and loan signing Luuk de Jong, among others - Pardew said: "Yes, I think some are.

"Others not so, but I am still looking for a level of performance and consistency that will maybe get them into a World Cup squad and make sure they are a regular next season at this football club."

For all that planning for the summer is under way, Pardew's more immediate task is to arrest an alarming slump which has seen the club pick up just a single point from its last four games and concede 10 goals without reply in the last three.

They will have a chance to arrest that slide when Aston Villa head for St James' Park on Sunday with the Magpies having been marooned on 37 points since their 0-0 draw at Norwich on January 28.

For all Newcastle enjoyed an encouraging first half of the campaign, Pardew's first target - 40 points - is yet to be reached, and that is an issue he intends to resolve at the earliest possible opportunity after last season's scramble for safety.

He said: "I would like to really get that out of the way on Sunday and hopefully we can. I wouldn't say we are very comfortable, but we are comfortable."

Pardew and his players were far from comfortable by the end of their last 90 minutes at St James', when they left the pitch to a chorus of boos from what remained of the crowd after a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Tottenham.

The manager and owner Mike Ashley have come in for concerted criticism for differing reasons since, and Pardew has left his players in little doubt as to what he expects of them from now on.

He said: "I can accept defeat, I have no problem with that, but there are ways and means to get a defeat.

"That wasn't the way or the means to get a defeat at this football club and I won't accept it.

"I just thought it was important to remind players of the responsibility they have, no matter how comfortable we are in the league, that there's a certain standard at this football club that we expect, and we didn't reach that standard by any stretch of the imagination.

"I made it plainly clear that I won't stand for it. That will be reflected in the selection of the team, and hopefully in the result."

That process will be made significantly easier by the return from injury of both central defender Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheick Tiote, while the completion of striker Loic Remy's three-game ban is perhaps even more timely.

Pardew said: "If you compare that to, say, Liverpool, it's like having Suarez and Gerrard back, that's how important they are to us."



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