Belfast Telegraph

Boss hopes Toon can handle setbacks

Alan Pardew admits he will not know everything about his high-flying Newcastle team until they run into problems.

The Magpies head into Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with struggling Wigan unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions so far this season and sitting in fourth place in the table, but Pardew insists he will only really see what backbone his new-look team has when they find themselves up against it.

Asked if he still has much to learn about his team, Pardew said: "I think so, and I think Saturday will provide some different problems because the crowd will be expectant. We haven't really had that this year, them expecting us to win, so maybe our first misplaced pass will be greeted with jeers. They are the sort of things we have got to overcome."

He added: "We might have a guy sent off, the ref might make a terrible decision - we haven't suffered that yet, so that's all to come, and it's how we react to that."

Many of the men who will do battle for the Magpies at the weekend were in the side which more than made a fist of life back in the Premier League last season, and the manager knows all about their resilience and character.

But while the new boys such as Yohan Cabaye and Gabriel Obertan are yet to face any kind of adversity, the manager is confident the homework he and his scouting team did before they signed them will pay dividends.

Pardew said: "It was like with Cabaye when I saw him at Lille and when we scouted him - what was his character like when things were going against him? It was very, very strong, so it's not a complete fluke. You have to make sure you are bringing in players who have that character.

"Demba Ba at West Ham - if you speak to any West Ham fan, he never threw the towel in, he was always trying to retrieve a situation for them, and they were coming to the great pros we had here, the Sholas, the Alan Smiths, et cetera.

"We have got that and it's very, very important when you have got a league where actually, there isn't much between us other than three or four sides.

"If you can have that, it does give you a slight advantage."

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