Pardew sympathizes with struggling Magpies

Alan Pardew admits he feels sorry for his beleaguered players as they attempt to drag Newcastle out of an alarming mid-season slump.

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The 51-year-old has seen his side ripped apart by injury and suspension in recent weeks, and the lack of strength in depth has been graphically exposed by a damaging run of nine defeats in 11 Barclays Premier League games which has left last season's fifth-placed club fighting for their top-flight lives.

Pardew had only five members of what would be considered his strongest team available for Wednesday night's 2-1 home defeat by Everton, and will head into Saturday's tricky FA Cup third-round trip to Brighton with one fewer following midfielder Cheick Tiote's departure for the African Nations Cup.

He said: "I don't feel sorry for myself - I'm not that type - but I really, genuinely, looking at Colo [skipper Fabricio Coloccini] and Tim Krul, people like that, do feel for them.

"They are having to really work hard with players who perhaps shouldn't be in the team in terms of where they are in their careers.

"There's no doubt that Sammy Ameobi, Shane Ferguson, James Tavernier, all those guys, eventually will be Newcastle players, but now in the situation we are in, we really shouldn't be asking them [to play].

"We are playing our hearts out and not getting any results. I don't think even our harshest critic would say we are not really trying.

"There's a good atmosphere in the changing room in terms of the togetherness, but we just need more quality on the pitch.

"When you are coming up against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, you are at a disadvantage, but not for lack of effort."

With leading scorer Demba Ba closing in on his move to Chelsea and new signing Mathieu Debuchy unavailable for the game at the Amex Stadium, Pardew's options will be limited to say the least.

However, having reached the FA Cup final as both a player and a manager - losing on both occasions - the former Crystal Palace midfielder and West Ham manager is desperate for a run in a competition which is close to his heart.

Pardew said: "You have only got to look at my history with the FA Cup to know how I feel about it. I was brought up on it, so it's very much part of the fabric of the football person that I am.

"Unfortunately, we have had bad luck in this competition so far and I want that to change, if I can, at Brighton.

"Our fans just want to see us win games and we are not doing that.

"For all the effort and commitment we are putting in, it really isn't enough for a club of this size. We have got to be better than we are.

"We have got players, potentially, who can take us forward in great leaps and quickly resolve the situation we are in, but they are still injured and we can't keep hoping they are going to come back.

"We have got to go with what we have got and hopefully turn it around with those, and when the good guys come back in, the so-called better players, hopefully they improve us again."

The Magpies know only too well what lies ahead of them this weekend having gone out of the competition at the same venue in the fourth round last year on a famous day for Gus Poyet's men.

Mike Williamson's own goal was enough to see the Seagulls progress to the fifth round, and Pardew is well aware that things will be no easier this time around.

He said: "There are no shocks for us because obviously they beat us. They have got some good players and they have had a terrific season again."

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