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Feb 1, 2013

Pardew admits overlooking Graham

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew does not believe new Sunderland signing Danny Graham is at the required level to play for the Magpies.

Danny Graham celebrates his late equaliser for Swansea
Danny Graham will be hoping to make an impact at Sunderland

Pardew was keen to bring in a centre-forward in January to replace Demba Ba, who left at the beginning of the month for Chelsea.

Newcastle appeared favourites to land Marseille striker Loic Remy, until Queens Park Rangers stole in front of them to lure the player to Loftus Road.

The Magpies boss admits the club looked at Graham as an alternative to Remy, who signed for the Black Cats from Swansea for £5 million on Thursday, only to decide he was not for them.

“When we lost out on Remy it was pretty evident we weren’t going to get a big striker,” Pardew told the Journal. “They are pretty difficult to get over the line. Maybe Danny Graham but I don’t think he is in that level. I think that is something we will look at in the summer.”

Despite ultimately missing out on a centre-forward, Pardew is still grateful to club owner Mike Ashley for his support in the transfer window that allowed the club to bring in five new players.

“[Ashley] has been very, very supportive,” Pardew said. “The results we’ve had this year have not been good enough for this club. We did need to strengthen and, fortunately for myself, it gives me an opportunity to turn the situation around.

“We’ve really worked hard to get in this position and the job now is to ensure the team is strong enough between now and the end of the year to not just secure our Premier League status but to hopefully do a little more than that and give us real optimism for next season. We want a second half of the season like Everton had last season. I think we have the potential to do that but we have to realise it.”

Pardew brought two of his new additions, Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko, into the starting line-up for the win at Villa on Tuesday. Pleased with their performances, the Newcastle boss is hoping that the cramp they both suffered at Villa Park will have subsided by the weekend.

“I’m hoping some of the cramp that Moussa and Yoan sustained was probably because it was their debuts,” he said. “The French had an off-season period so we’re going to be concerned about them for Chelsea, but we do get an extra day’s rest and I do think that is significant. It evens it up, so that is a factor in the game.

“Sometimes the first game you can get by with the adrenaline and everything but the second game can be a bit more difficult. We’ll focus on those guys for the second game – their level must stay the same.”

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