Belfast Telegraph

Summer of struggle for Pardew

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew admits another turbulent transfer window and a tough start to the season have taken their toll on him.

The 52-year-old has had to contend with the controversial appointment of director of football Joe Kinnear, continued speculation over the future of French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, a frustrating lack of signings to date and a distinctly ordinary opening to the new campaign on the pitch.

That combination of factors would have been difficult enough to deal with had Pardew not ended last season fighting for his job with both owner Mike Ashley and the club's fans less than impressed with a 16th-placed Barclays Premier League finish.

While he insists the events of the last few weeks have not really come as a surprise to him, he is hoping his fortunes will take a significant turn for the better as he prepares for Fulham's visit to St James' Park on Saturday and Monday's transfer deadline.

Pardew said: "If I had been asked during the summer what would pre-season be like, I would have suggested not too dissimilar to how it's been.

"We had a tough start in terms of Manchester City away with a new manager, and also you could almost sense that one or two of our players would be involved in this window, so I kind of sensed it was coming.

"But that doesn't mean to say it hasn't been difficult, because it has.

"It has been a very difficult period and if we can get a win on Saturday and get through to Monday with one or two additions, I will be very, very pleased."

A crushing 4-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium was followed by a dispiriting 0-0 home draw with West Ham, and Wednesday night's 2-0 Capital One Cup victory at League Two Morecambe came courtesy largely of Pardew's understudies and was less convincing than the scoreline suggests.

But the uncertainty of Cabaye's future - the France international has been told he is expected to be available for selection against Fulham after sitting out the opening three games - has proved draining with Arsenal's second bid having been firmly rejected, but the Magpies are awaiting a response with time running down.

Pardew could yet lose arguably his most influential performer to the Gunners and face the task of replacing him in what remains of the summer window, while his hopes of landing two more "flair" players lie in Kinnear's hands.

He could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself, but the former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss is hoping there are brighter days ahead.

Asked how he maintains his own spirits, he replied with a smile: "I try to get some sleep when I can.

"But the spirits are always lifted by the fans. To walk out at Morecambe and let's be honest, half of it was Newcastle United fans coming to watch it, and if that can't energise you, nothing will."

Pardew hopes to be able to unleash his one summer acquisition to date, Loic Remy, at some point on Saturday with the Frenchman having now trained with his new team-mates after shaking off the calf injury he was suffering with when he arrived from QPR on a season-long loan deal.

Fulham were the last side to lose at St James' Park in April with Papiss Cisse's last-gasp winner, which prompted Pardew to leap into the embraces of delighted fans in the stands, proving crucial in their ultimately successful fight for survival.

The Senegal international has not scored a league goal since and improving the supply lines to him is a priority.

Pardew said: "Looking at the team, I am really looking to try to help Papiss a little bit more in terms of his service, and it's something we will be working on."

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