ALAN Pardew has delivered a stark warning to the Newcastle board – that they must sign at least two senior recruits in January to avoid relegation.
And in a double salvo timed to coincide with the visit of Reading for a St James’ Park six-pointer tomorrow, the United boss has also warned his ailing team that better sides than them have dropped out of the Premier League.
He also raised the possibility of relegation candidates QPR having more strength in depth than Newcastle.
United will take on the Royals tomorrow without the striker that they had hoped to recruit this week, with Loïc Rémy having opted to join QPR for a more lucrative contract than the one on offer at St James’ Park.
That was a blow for Pardew, who dismissed the idea that his current squad would be good enough to guarantee top-flight football again on Tyneside next season.
Instead, he said that two new players – presumably the centre-back and striker that Newcastle have been working around the clock to recruit – would need to be added to insure against further struggles in the second half of the season.
A candid Pardew said: “We definitely need a player or two in this window for sure to make sure of our Premier League status. We’re under a little bit of pressure.
“Where we are now is that we have to face facts – we need a couple of players in, we need to get a result and we need to go from there.
“I’m only going on the fact that some of the teams I’ve put out – as I’ve said before – in my opinion, haven’t been strong enough for Newcastle.
“That’s been caused by an injury crisis, by Demba’s clause, Cheick’s unavailability. It has put that (the squad) under pressure and we can’t take a risk.
“In this particular year, when the Uefa financial fair play rules are coming in, we’ve done brilliantly to be where we are. We’re such a well-run club financially. But we know that we’re going to need to invest in our team. We know that other clubs will – if not now, then in the summer.” Pardew also said that his squad would not be allowed to “bury their heads in the sand” and ignore the threat of relegation.
He called on them to repeat the fight they showed in last weekend’s draw at Norwich and not to fall into the trap of believing they are too good to go down.
“There are better teams than the one I manage who have gone down. I could argue QPR’s squad, on paper, is stronger than ours in terms of depth. I’m not sure about the starting XI, but we’ve not had our first XI out all year.
“Our players need to show discipline and character. It’s a six-pointer against Reading, we can’t hide from that. If we can put some distance between us and strengthen the squad, things will look a lot rosier next week.
“I think we shouldn’t be lost to the fact that we could be relegated.
“That’s what real fans do and they have stayed with us until now. Now, this is the critical time in the season where we need to produce on the pitch.
“We’ve had some great performances where we’ve been on the wrong end of the result. We’ve had some great games and played well and been on the wrong end of the result – we need to produce the same performances in the second half of the season, but have the diligence to come out with the right result.
“I’m being realistic. I’m not trying to say we’re a great team, that we’re going to cruise through the second half of the season – because in my experience that won’t happen.
“We’re going to have to battle down there, and it’s about time we realised that we’re going to have to battle.”