Pardew puts recruitment plans on ice
Alan Pardew is excited by Newcastle's summer recruitment plans - but will put them on ice until their Premier League status is assured.
Pardew has instructed his scouting team to scour the world for new talent as he attempts to build a squad capable of establishing the club in the upper reaches of the division.
However, he knows he must first ensure they remain in the top flight by making a strong final push, starting with Saturday's visit of Wolves to St James' Park.
Pardew said: "That focus is something that excites me, but it is very much secondary in my mind at the minute because the job in hand is to make sure that we are a Premier League side.
"The way the league is congested and how tight it is - 36 points at this time with eight games to go, we should have a fair bit of breathing space, but we haven't, of course, because the team at the top of the relegation area has 32.
"It's a period when you have to concentrate and give everything in every game, and as long as I am manager, that's what we will do."
Mick McCarthy's men will head for Tyneside sitting inside the relegation zone - seven places, but just four points adrift of Newcastle - and anything but a positive result for the Magpies could see them sucked to the fringes of the mire.
Newcastle have taken just one point from their last three games, two of which were played at home. They have not won on their own turf since January 5, when West Ham were trounced 5-0.
That run of four games includes creditable draws with north London duo Tottenham and, in spectacular style, Arsenal, but there is little doubt that a significant improvement is required if they are to end the season in comfort rather than scrapping for points.
Pardew said: "You want to win your home games - it's important. It's important for your fans and everybody who turns up. We have 50,000 people there and we want them to go home with a smile on their face having seen their team win, and we haven't done that enough this year.
"We have got some important home games to come and the position in the league will be determined by how strong we are at home from now on in.
"We have to be really, really strong and make sure we compete with Wolves as they have competed, to be fair to Mick and his staff, almost every game - and so have we, for the best part. That will be hard against Wolves, but that's what we will try to do."
Pardew and McCarthy know each other of old, and the Newcastle boss is under no illusions as to what to expect from his Wolves counterpart.
He said: "His interviews tell you everything about Mick - it's straight, it's honest and his teams will give everything until the last knockings."
McCarthy, of course, will be without striker Kevin Doyle, who suffered knee ligament damage on international duty with the Republic of Ireland last weekend, but Pardew will be without Doyle's Ireland team-mate Leon Best through injury and key midfielder Cheick Tiote through suspension, while Jose Enrique and Stephen Ireland remain big doubts.
That has simply served to illustrate the club's need for summer recruits. Assistant boss John Carver was in Dublin last week amid rumours that the Magpies are trailing striker Shane Long and keeper Keiren Westwood, although with Celtic having been told to forget signing Fraser Forster, the latter appears not to be a target.
Pardew said: "It would be silly for them not to be on our radar - but everybody is on our radar.
"But not so much the goalkeeping situation because we have got Steve Harper, Fraser Forster and Tim Krul, and I don't think, if I am honest, that's going to change. There are other areas in which we need to strengthen."