Club Focus – Newcastle United – Pardew looks to install discipline

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew intends to discipline bad boys Leon Best and Stephen Ireland for appearing in a city nightclub the night before a game. As Best has withdrawn from international duty the manager will have an earlier than expected chance to get his point across. Best had been included in the Republic of Ireland squad but was forced to withdraw on Wednesday after failing to recover from an ankle problem.

Pardew will speak to the duo and reserve team player Stephen Folan about breaking a club curfew. He said: “There will be discipline involved, for sure, but I want to see all three together in my office before I say anything more.” Whatever punishment the manager decides to give out it is an early opportunity to show that player misbehaviour will not be tolerated. It could also be argued that the drawn out process of dealing with the incident has created unnecessary headlines at an important stage of the season.

Midfielder Ireland may soon get an opportunity to make a positive impact with the fans as he nears a return to action. The on-loan Aston Villa player is set to return to full training at the start of next week after missing the past few games with a groin problem. The 24 year old has a chance of facing Wolves next weekend and will at least provide another option in a stretched midfield. Despite his underwhelming start to life on Tyneside his manager still has faith that he will come good. Pardew said: “Stephen becomes an important figure for us in the last eight games. When Andy Carroll left, we wanted to bring in a quality player, and Stephen’s a quality player.” Meanwhile Pardew has recalled young right back James Tavernier from his loan spell at Gateshead. The 19 year old has impressed during his time in the Conference side and could be part of the first team squad next season.

The future of Joey Barton remains in doubt with no contract yet to be agreed between the player and his current club. Barton has been linked with a host of different clubs in the summer with his career at St James’ Park seemingly up in the air. A final contract agreement with Barton is yet to be reached and he now has just over a year remaining on his present deal. The player seemed close to committing his future at the start of the calendar year and in interviews pledged his loyalty to the Magpies. For now talks have been shelved until the end of the season despite a number of other managers showing an interest in Barton. That leaves two of Newcastle’s top assets in Barton and Jose Enrique with just one year on their present contracts and both of their futures in doubt.

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