Newcastle Club Focus – Injury hit Magpies has Pardew looking to the fringes

Newcastle will face Norwich City at the weekend without a number of their key players. A spate of injuries in both midfield and defence means that Alan Pardew will have to call on a number of his fringe players in the coming weeks. For the first time this season things are starting to go against the Magpies following a run of three games without a win and a sudden influx of injury problems. For much of the campaign Pardew has been able to name an unchanged team but now he must galvanise his squad for one of the toughest months of the year.

The biggest area of concern is in central defence with regulars Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both sidelined. Taylor will be out for the rest of the season while Coloccini has a thigh injury that the club are unwilling to risk at the moment. With the most likely alternative in the squad Mike Williamson also injured the manager will have to play a number of players out of position.

The most likely candidates to start at centre back are James Perch, Davide Santon or Tamas Kadar which will not provide much comfort for the fans. Perch and Santon are both more natural full backs while Kadar has been frozen out for much of Pardew’s time on Tyneside. The Hungarian youngster did not even have a squad number at the start of the season but has been a regular for the reserves. The chances are that come January, Newcastle could be making a move for another defender with the likes of Sebastien Bassong and Erik Pieters already linked.

The latest player to pick up a long term injury is Danny Guthrie who is expected to be out for six weeks with a groin injury. With Cheik Tiote also injured there are limited options in midfield also. Guthrie has been playing some of the best football of his Newcastle career in recent weeks but has once again picked up an unfortunate injury. That could hand a chance to Dan Gosling who has had few opportunities this season.

Alan Pardew has revealed his concern that the club’s successful start could make it hard to keep hold of some of his players. Newcastle currently employ a rigid structure when it comes to wages which has caused problems in the past when trying to agree contracts with key personnel. The biggest concern at the moment is Fabricio Coloccini who will soon have only 18 months to run on his present deal. Other players nearing the end of their contracts include Guthrie and Danny Simpson.

Pardew told the Northern Echo newspaper: “As a manager I want my captain to be secured, they all seem to rumble on at this football club. Hopefully we can strike a deal with the three we’re talking to. I’d like to keep all the players here because they are doing terrific, but with success comes high expectations from the players and agents and we have to cope with that.”

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