TAMAS Kadar hopes to resurrect his St James’ Park career by bringing competition for places to one of the few departments of Newcastle United’s side lacking it.
Manager Alan Pardew has named an unchanged side for the last three matches, leaving Shola Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Davide Santon and Sylvain Marveaux as frustrated substitutes. But for all their attacking options, the Magpies have been one injury away from a crisis at centre-back.
Hungarian Kadar is hoping for the chance to allay those fears, and impress Pardew in the process, with the likelihood of squad rotation for next week’s League Cup trip to Blackburn Rovers.
The 21-year-old missed the start of the campaign through injury, but five reserve-team appearances have restored his confidence.
“(Tuesday’s reserve-team win over Liverpool) was the fifth or sixth I’ve played in the last few weeks, so I’m happy with the results and happy because I’m playing,” he said.
“I’d been out for a long time – since January – until I did the pre-season, and then I got an injury again. But now I feel like I’m 100% and I’ll push to get back into the first team.
“I know it’s going to take a long time and it’s going to be hard to get into the backline but I think I’m in a good way and if I can play every week that’s the best I can do.”
Newcastle have the joint-best defensive record in this season’s Premier League, conceding six goals in their opening eight games. Their defensive unit has been unchanged all term, with Tim Krul, back four Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Ryan Taylor, and holding midfielder Cheick Tioté ever-presents in the league.
With Mike Williamson’s bad luck with injuries continuing, James Perch provides the only cover in the heart of Newcastle’s defence. Although he partnered Coloccini
in the League Cup win over Nottingham Forest, Perch is seen more as a Jack-of-all-trades than a master centre-back. His nine Premier League starts came at full-back.
Derby County recently enquired about taking the 26-year-old on loan and although Newcastle refused, it was more a reflection of their lack of alternatives than a vote of confidence.
Since joining from Portsmouth in January 2010, Williamson has been battling for a place with Steven Taylor, though they have rarely been fit at the same time. With Williamson currently out of the picture, it is a battle the homegrown player appears to be winning. Williamson suffered a broken arm in a freak gym accident last term and an ankle injury in pre-season. He is close to a return, but probably not in time to face Blackburn next week.
As a left-footed defender, Kadar has played much of his football at left-back, but sees himself as a more central figure.
“I’m playing for the reserves as a centre-back and that’s my best position,” he told Newcastle’s official website. “I’m working very hard on the training ground, whether I’m training with the first team or the reserves.”
Kadar, who broke his leg in 2009, suffered a serious hamstring injury in the New Year on loan at Huddersfield Town, and a pre-season groin injury on his return.
He was signed by Dennis Wise as part of owner Mike Ashley’s plan of identifying young talent and buying it cheap. Ben Tozer and Fabio Zamblera have left after failing to meet expectations, and Kadar would have been allowed to join a Dutch club on loan this summer had injury not intervened. He has never played first-team football under Pardew.
Meanwhile, a Premier League novice will officiate at Ewood Park next week. Second-year referee Robert Madley has never taken charge of two top-flight sides before. Neil Swarbrick will referee Saturday’s visit of Wigan Athletic.