Pardew: I won't walk away
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will not walk away from his job despite a growing chorus of disapproval.
The 52-year-old heads into Saturday's penultimate Barclays Premier League clash with relegation-haunted Cardiff under intense pressure after a run of six successive defeats which have left his most vociferous critics calling for his imminent departure.
However, owner Mike Ashley is understood to be in no rush to act and Pardew himself has no intention of turning his back on the challenge he took up in December 2010.
He said: "No, I won't walk away. I love this job and I am going to fight as long as I can for it. That's what I have always done.
"I have been in tricky situations before. This is a situation where I perhaps need to dig deep, and I have got no problem in doing that.
"I will dig deep on Saturday and make sure I make the right decisions to get us a win."
The pressure on Pardew is not so much a result of the club's league position - they will run out against the Bluebirds sitting in ninth place in the table and on target for a top-half finish 12 months after flirting with relegation until the final throes of the campaign.
Its roots lie in the fact that the Magpies were sixth on Boxing Day and being touted as potential top-four challengers, since when they have collected only 13 points from 18 games.
There is little doubt that Yohan Cabaye's January departure for Paris St Germain, coupled with Ashley's decision not to replace him, ripped the creative heart out of Pardew's team, but the response since has been limp to say the least.
As a result, the manager, who did himself few favours when he head-butted Hull midfielder David Meyler, has been the focal point for the tide of criticism, but he is ready to take it on the chin.
Asked if he was worried about his job, he said: "Everybody worries about their job to a degree, and you would be stupid not to.
"But really and truly in this job, you have to be cast in iron because if you start doubting yourself, then you are going to pass that on to the players.
"I have made it very clear that I am the manager at this football club and let's make sure that we make the right decisions on Saturday."
Pardew has faced banners calling for him to go at each of the club's last two away games, and he admits that has not been easy.
He said: "You never want to see it as a manager, of course, but it happens when you get the defeats that we have had. You have to accept that.
"But I won't hide from it, and I won't hide from it on Saturday."
French midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has become something of a cause celebre for Pardew's detractors with fans mystified by his repeated refusal to use one of the club's most naturally gifted players.
The manager has his reasons - fitness and attitude are understood to be his main concerns - but suggestions that the player has been banished to France are untrue.
Ben Arfa gave his side of the story in a series of carefully-managed interviews with selected national newspapers earlier this week, although Pardew appeared to be unmoved.
He said: "They are his comments, but my comments are the same as what I said before: I will pick the team on merit."
Pardew, who confirmed that Ben Arfa did not train with the main group on Thursday, hinted that he would once again not be involved against Cardiff, but added: "The only thing I would say to our supporters is I hope that the team comes first because at the end of the day, this is not about me, Hatem or any individual player."