Belfast Telegraph

Pardew happy with defensive options

Alan Pardew does not believe he needs Fabricio Coloccini because he already has Scott Dann.

The Crystal Palace manager is no longer pursuing Newcastle's Coloccini - after a productive summer he no longer expects to add to his squad - and that is partly because he believes that in Dann, who he feels can play for England, Damien Delaney, Brede Hangeland and Adrian Mariappa his defence is sufficiently strong.

Dann was the subject of interest from Everton earlier in the summer and their manager Roberto Martinez may yet revive that interest if Chelsea, as expected, succeed in signing John Stones.

Coloccini is beyond Pardew's reach, however, having extended his Newcastle contract until 2017 with the option of a further season.

"There's been a lot of talk about us bringing in a centre-back, but actually my centre-backs were the strength of the team last year," said Pardew, whose team begin their Premier League season away at newly-promoted Norwich on Saturday.

"There's a lot of criticisms for various things: they can't do this, they can't do that, they're too slow...

"Scott Dann, for me, is an England international, and I think he's going to prove that this year.

"My two centre-halves as a pair, I think are very, very good. Damo's [Delaney] leadership qualities, and his natural left foot and his height are massive assets for us.

"In terms of the back-up, [we have] Brede Hangeland and Mariappa, who's been absolutely brilliant in the summer, so I never really thought it was a weakness and I haven't really hunted down a centre-half."

Despite his characteristic confidence about Palace's prospects, Pardew also revealed a recognition that Norwich represent a difficult opening league fixture and stressed the importance of his team making a strong start to the coming season.

"It's nice to see them back, to see Delia [Smith] and her board back, trying to do it the right way," he said. "[They're] a great, great club.

"They have good players as well, and that's the key to any good team."

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