Pardew out to maintain momentum
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is demanding his players fight to the end to avoid a "nasty" conclusion to the season.
The Magpies cemented themselves in ninth place in the Barclays Premier League table as a result of Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Bolton despite playing the final 36 minutes with only 10 men following Ryan Taylor's dismissal, the tie taking them to 36 points with 10 games remaining
Pardew said: "The statement the club has made in going up as champions and having a good first season so far has been a resounding success but there are still 10 to go and we don't want it to have a nasty end to it or an end which takes the shine off it, so it's about keeping the momentum we have got."
Andy Carroll's sale to Liverpool was greeted with dismay and anger by fans who had hoped to see a team built around him, and with Jose Enrique and Joey Barton having since put contract talks on hold, the Magpies face a battle to persuade their biggest names that they have the ambition to match theirs.
To that end, they tied up summer recruit Cheick Tiote on an eye-catching six-and-a-half-year contract last Friday, with Chelsea and Manchester United among those rumoured to be monitoring the Ivory Coast international's progress.
Pardew admits that kind of situation can be uncomfortable for a manager with every player having his price, but insists it demonstrates that the club is doing something right.
He said: "Of course, but if you haven't got that going on at your club, then you have got something wrong.
"We have got good players here, some great players, and they are always going to be of interest to other clubs.
"There are some clubs we can't compete against, as was proved with Andy, but with this signing we are armed a little bit with some security."