ALAN Pardew insists that Newcastle United would be ready for the Champions League if they managed to snatch a top-four place.
The Magpies boss has revealed the club have already started formulating plans for a European campaign next season – as well as “discussions” on what the implications of Champions League qualification would be.
While he doesn’t anticipate a major recruitment drive to beef up the squad, he does expect the club’s crop of young players bubbling under the first-team squad to have a much bigger role. That means Shane Ferguson, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi and Haris Vuckic all stepping up their participation next season.
“We’ve discussed (the Champions League). I think we would be silly not to. We’ve kind of had brief discussions about what the implications of that could be,” Pardew said. “Are we looking at third now? No, we’re just looking at Stoke (on Saturday). But I think you all know me well enough to know that I haven’t really touched on the Champions League before and I am touching on it now, for sure. It would be silly not to.
“I definitely think that we would really have achieved something special if we finish fifth or sixth and it looks, obviously, as if sixth is already a real chance for us. Any higher than that would be astounding, really, for a new team to have done what they’ve done. And we’ve got a great chance.
“The more weeks go past, the bigger that chance seems to get and we’ve got a home game now and we need to win that.
“Come Saturday night, after Tottenham’s game, we could find ourselves in an even better position than we are today.”
Pardew has also revealed that there will not be a drastic change in United’s summer transfer plans. At the moment they anticipate adding a centre-back, a left-back and a midfielder but that could be joined by another two if they make it into Europe. A greater burden will be placed on the club’s young players to step in if they are fighting on four fronts.
“I don’t think you really have to enlarge, but you do need to make sure that those young players are really on song,” he said. “Maybe we’ll bring in one or two extra, but no more than that. And actually the funds for the Europa League don’t actually suggest you can do more than that. Unfortunately, that’s the way it’s been devised.
“We haven’t really got two teams at the moment, and I don’t suppose Tony thinks he has either.
“What you have to call upon is the young group in your squad, like the Vuckic, the Fergusons, the Sammy Ameobis next year, we’ll be leaning on them far greater than we have this year.”
Pardew revealed that he had spoken to Stoke boss Tony Pulis about the demands that their Europa League run had placed on his squad. The Potters made it into the last 32 of Europe’s second tier competition but are 14th in the Premier League – a disappointing return given a summer of strengthening at the Britannia.
Pardew admits the burden on his players will be greater next term.
“I think it’s very, very important next year that the mind set of some of our players is to try and get a maximum of a 55, 60, 70-game season in, whatever it takes,” he said. “We are already looking at what the other clubs have done, how much game time, how many players they’ve used, (we’re) starting to bring in that information even though we haven’t qualified for Europe yet, just in case we do, so we’re armed with all that information.”
Meanwhile, Sylvain Marveaux is the shock name in contention for a place on the bench against Stoke.
Pardew confirmed he had “a chance” of playing on tomorrow – while Cheick Tioté, James Perch, Danny Guthrie and Gabriel Obertan are all back fit.