ALAN Pardew has been told to get on with the job of rescuing Newcastle United after receiving assurances that he will not be sacked before the end of the season.
Pardew took training yesterday with players involved in Saturday’s shocking 6-0 reverse against Liverpool taking part in a light session ahead of more intensive work later in the week.
United sources said the message from the boardroom was about pulling together in the face of adversity rather than taking any drastic action despite obvious concerns about the performance and result on another depressing weekend for the club.
The club have already scheduled an in-depth inquest into the season in the weeks that will follow the campaign.
And United owner Mike Ashley will demand answers about how a year that promised so much has been allowed to turn into a frantic relegation fight.
But his message to Pardew has been that he is not in danger of being ousted at St James’ Park as he tries to plot a path towards safety.
Instead the manager has been backed to try and salve some of the problems that have manifested themselves in a shocking few weeks for the club despite the rising discontent in the stands.
Pardew has big support in the boardroom in the shape of managing director Derek Llambias, who has always insisted that the club favour stability, and handed the manager a long-term contract to end the sort of speculation that swarmed around the club yesterday.
But Ashley is understood to be concerned about the lack of impact that a January recruitment drive has had on fortunes that have nosedived since their 3-0 Tyne-Wear derby defeat.
The United owner is prepared to splash out again in the summer – Andy Carroll is one of the targets on United’s hit-list – but such plans are on hold until Newcastle are certain about which division they are playing in.
The club now believe the most important thing is to pull together in this latest bout of adversity – even though there are several issues that Pardew must solve.
Chief among them are trying to forge a sense of unity in a dressing room that is exhausted and clearly struggling to raise its game in the face of a relegation fight.
The sudden influx of French-based players transformed the make up of the dressing room and there are obvious concerns about fatigue with many of them clearly tailing off after bright starts.
Pardew faced a number of unsubstantiated rumours yesterday, but suggestions of any bust-up were played down by the club.
Sources said the mood is downbeat but any suggestions of player discontent at yesterday’s training session were mischief-making.