Pardew warns Magpies of Bolton threat
Alan Pardew has warned his Newcastle players they must take Monday's home match with Bolton as seriously as Friday's trip to Swansea if they are to stay on course to gatecrash the Barclays Premier League top four.
Good Friday saw Pardew's men win at what is widely regarded as one of the toughest places to go in the top flight when they ran out 2-0 victors at the Liberty Stadium. Newcastle will be expected to follow that up with another three points against a Bolton side who have lost 10 times on the road this season.
But Pardew was wary of opponents that recorded a hat-trick of league wins before Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Fulham as his own side eye a fifth successive top-flight win for the first time for six years. He said: "They are a serious threat. Owen Coyle has just won Manager of the Month and rightly so. They are re-harnessed and it will be a tough game."
Pardew admitted having an extra day to prepare would give Newcastle "a slight advantage in preparation" as they look to reclaim fifth place from Chelsea and stay within striking distance of Tottenham and Arsenal.
Pardew still has defensive injury concerns but his side have responded magnificently to the problem, keeping two clean sheets in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini.
He said of his makeshift back four: "They know the job they have to do and they see it through. We have people doing the best possible job and that's giving us the chance to win games. Monday will be tricky for us as we are short of personnel - there are seven or eight in the treatment room."
That would be of far more concern were Newcastle - or more precisely Papiss Cisse - not scoring goals. Senegal striker Cisse has made one of the biggest impacts of any January signing in Premier League history and will be looking to take his goalscoring tally to double figures in what will be just his ninth game for the club.
Only one man has netted more times in the division in his first eight matches than the 26-year-old - ironically a striker Newcastle had just let go in the shape of Micky Quinn.
Should Cisse maintain his form, it is impossible to discount Newcastle qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in a decade.
Full-back Danny Simpson said: "With 10 games to go, the manager said the season starts now. We've got four wins on the bounce and we're keeping clean sheets so it couldn't have gone any better. We've looked solid at the back and dangerous going forward. We've been good through the season but this is the best spell and the best we've looked as a whole."