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Pardew: First priority is safety

Alan Pardew's current priority is to avoid relegation after successive defeats over the festive period left Newcastle United just three points above the relegation zone.

Eager to reach the 40-point mark which has secured survive in all but one of the Premier League seasons since the division was reduced to 20 teams, Pardew is also taking comfort from the fact he has players to return from injury.

"I've never looked away from the bottom if I'm honest, and I think every Premier League manager outside of the top four or five clubs who doesn't look at 40 points first is telling a fib," Pardew said. "You need to look at that first, and we're still 20 points short at the moment so we've got a bit to do. Of course I'm confident that we will get out of it. We have good players to come back and we're going to make an impact somewhere in this league at some point.

"We don't want to leave it too late and my priority is to get the best team out on the pitch as soon as I can. I have got some better news coming along with Steven Taylor and Cabaye, and just one of those coming back will be significant. I hope they will be coming back soon.

"We conceded seven goals and we can't do that. I'm disappointed with the scoreline, I really am. As I say though, when I'm looking from the sideline, there was a definite difference between the two teams in terms of energy levels. We've got a home game next and we like to think we can win our home games, but we knew this was going to be a difficult run."

Despite heavy defeats at Old Trafford and the Emirates this Christmas, the Newcastle boss was still able to take positives from the fixtures; most notably the performances of French pair Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux.

"When we got the fixture sheet in August [sic], we knew that this little run would be difficult. But to do it without any of the players we've got missing - no Gutierrez, Cabaye, Ben Arfa and you could name six or seven players who could have made a difference today - we just haven't got them available so we're really fighting.

"We're trying to find something within our squad, and we have found a couple of bonuses in Marveaux and Obertan, who I thought were both excellent. Of course I'd like to hold on to everyone we've got, but Demba Ba is a bit out of my hands and there's not a lot we can do about that. It will be what it's going to be. I'm not quite sure about (transfers). All transfers are difficult. That really isn't my department. Fingers crossed there is a player who comes in early."

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