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Pardew tasked with Toon revival

Newcastle United have dismissed speculation over Alan Pardew's future as they seek long-term stability and an instant return to the top half of the Premier League.

Pardew, handed an eight-year-contract in September, had seen his position come under scrutiny as Newcastle were drawn into the relegation battle in the final weeks of the season.

He headed for talks with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias on Wednesday over the direction of the club, but it appears the manager's future was not up for debate.

Instead, Pardew, who led Newcastle to a fifth-placed finish in the 2011-12 campaign, has been handed the task of returning the team back into the top half of the Premier League next season.

"Everyone connected with the club was disappointed to finish where we did last season, particularly on the back of such a fantastic year prior to that," Llambias said. "Our discussions on Wednesday were very constructive and we pinpointed a number of factors that contributed to a season which fell below expectations.

"We are now looking forward and are entirely focused on the forthcoming campaign, with the expectation of at least a top-ten finish in the Premier League. There has been a great deal of speculation in recent weeks but our desire, as we announced back in September, is to bring long-term stability to this club.

"It's up to us all now to work closely as a team to ensure next season sees us competing in the top half of the table again. We would all like to thank the fans for their continued support and assure them we remain committed to providing affordable football at St James' Park."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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