Club Focus – Newcastle United – Pardew faces his former team West Ham

Newcastle will be looking to achieve their second win of the New Year when they face West Ham at St James’ Park on Wednesday night. A 1-0 win over Wigan brought to an end a poor run of results and allowed the Magpies to move back into the top-half of the league table. A win over the Hammers could potentially put Newcastle nine points clear of the relegation zone. Manager Alan Pardew may feel he has a point to prove after being sacked as West Ham boss back in 2006.

Leading scorer Andy Carroll will remain sidelined with a thigh injury that could keep him out of the next few games, with the striker hoping to return in time for the trip to Sunderland on the 16th January. Strikers Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands are likely to keep their places after linking up well against Wigan. Newcastle hold a good record over Wednesday’s visitors at St James’ Park, with West Ham last winning in the North East back in the 1998/99 season. When the two sides met earlier in the season goals from Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll set-up a 2-1 win.

Alan Pardew spent three-and-a-half years at Upton Park with his time there producing many highs and lows. Initially he struggled to win the fans over but managed to secure promotion via the play-offs in his first full season at the club. West Ham’s return to the Premier League was highly successful as they finished ninth in the table and came within minutes of achieving victory in the final of the FA Cup. The 2006/07 season was a different story, with Pardew unable to harness the talents of Argentinean duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. He was dismissed in December following one of the club’s worst ever runs of results.

Up to now Pardew has had mixed results at the Newcastle helm, recording two wins and two defeats. He spent yesterday discussing transfer targets with Managing Director Derek Llambias. The most high profile player that the Magpies have been linked with is David Beckham. When asked about signing the LA Galaxy player on loan Pardew said:“I think he is a player that could play in this team and could add something to this squad, but whether he is available to us, I am not aware of yet.” However there are a number of clubs interested in signing Beckham so the chances of him coming to Tyneside are slim. More realistic signings are squad players from teams at the top end of the league, with want away players at both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur linked with moves to the north east on a daily basis.

On the non-playing staff side of things, Pardew remains on the lookout for an assistant manager to work alongside him. Experienced coach Peter Taylor looked set to become Pardew’s assistant but now appears to be staying on as Bradford City manager. The two clubs had agreed compensation terms but Taylor would prefer to stay with the Bantams. Previously Newcastle had approached Watford manager Malky Mackay for the assistant’s position.

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