Belfast Telegraph

Pardew ready for Potters test

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is determined not to let himself become fixated on Stoke's strengths as he prepares his side for Monday's Barclays Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium.

The Magpies lost the equivalent fixture 4-0 last season, a result Pardew believes can be partly put down to giving Stoke the psychological advantage. The Britannia Stadium is considered one of the toughest trips in the Premier League because of a combination of the Potters' physical prowess and their vocal fans.

"Physically and mentally it's a test, and it's a test we failed last year, and I must take some blame for that defeat," said Pardew.

"It was probably the only game that got away from us, and maybe I put too much emphasis on what Stoke did rather than hurting them, and I won't make that mistake again, but it's still very difficult to defend against and we need our warriors and we need people to stand up and concentrate."

While Stoke's threat from corners and Rory Delap's long throws has been endlessly highlighted, Pardew stressed they have more a lot more strings to their bow than simply a talent for set-pieces.

The Newcastle boss believes wingers Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant present just as big a threat to his side, along with strikers Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones and Jon Walters.

"Matty Etherington did absolutely brilliantly for me at West Ham and is a fine player, and Pennant on the other side," Pardew said. "There aren't many sides who play with two wingers and two strikers, and therefore they put you under a lot of pressure. They're going to score goals, so you have to defend very, very well.

"They've got the bonus of the long throw, and a team with an average height of about 6ft 7in, so it's difficult. It's a difficult place to get anything, and, after Tottenham at home, I think our toughest game this season."

Pardew knows his opposite number at Stoke, Tony Pulis, very well and has nothing but admiration for the job the Welshman has done in the Potteries.

"What he's done at Stoke, when he has had a bit of cash, he's used it very well. They very rarely waste money on a player," he said. "Walters is a good example of plucking a player from the Football League who's turned out to be a top Premier League player. Hats off to him and his staff."


From Belfast Telegraph