Club Focus – Newcastle – Magpies fall foul of the weather

Newcastle were one of the many clubs who were without a game at the weekend as their game at St Andrews was a victim of the wintry conditions. Thousands of Newcastle supporters making the journey south to Birmingham had a wasted trip as the match was postponed a couple of hours before kick-off. Although the pitch was playable the areas surrounding the stadium were deemed unsafe due to heavy snowfall. Referee Mike Jones and the local authorities decided to call off the fixture on health and safety grounds. Newcastle will not return to action until Boxing Day when they face Manchester City at home.

Manager Alan Pardew hopes to make some new additions to the Newcastle squad in the New Year when the transfer window re-opens in January. While there is unlikely to be wholesale changes to the squad Pardew is hopeful of bringing in a few new faces to help the Magpies’ consolidate a good start to the season. The priorities are likely to be a left-back where there is no real back-up or competition for the impressive Jose Enrique. Pardew could also attempt to bring in another striker to take some of the goalscoring burden away from Andy Carroll. While his predecessor Chris Hughton ruled out making any signings in January thanks to a lack of funds Pardew is hopeful of having some money to spend. January is not an ideal time to sign new players but clever signings can be the difference between staying in the division or going down. Pardew said: “It will be tinkering rather than major surgery.” He added: “It’s a window where a lot of mistakes are made, where clubs pay over the odds for players and fees way beyond a player’s ability. It’s important we target players who are important to us in some of the areas where we’re weaker.”

Already Pardew has been linked with some of his former charges at Southampton although few players playing at League One level are capable of going straight into the Premier League. One of the players inside the Newcastle squad who the new manager is keen to hold onto is defender Steven Taylor. The defender has been involved in a contract wrangle for much of the season and could be the target of a few clubs in January. The former England Under 21 international has been quietly impressive since returning from a long-term injury against Chelsea. Pardew has been impressed by Taylor and is keen on persuading the board to offer him a long term deal on improved terms. Pardew said “I have spoken to Steven Taylor this week. I haven’t had an indication that he wants to leave. It is far from resolved but I think it is a decision where Steven wants the contract to be right for him. He wants a contract that he thinks is fair for his ability and his ability going forward. I think that is fair.” There may also be a new deal for midfielder Cheik Tiote to reward him for his good form this season.

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