Newcastle United’s bid to reverse their disastrous run of form has run into rough ground – because of the World Cup commitments of their France internationals.
The club had expected Loic Remy to return for their trip to Stoke tomorrow but, with one eye on the World Cup this summer, the striker is playing it extremely safe with his fitness.
Similarly Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko – who may be back for the Swansea game – want to be absolutely correct before they return to the team.
The Journal understands all three are in a position where they could play if pressed but with the World Cup ahead, they have to be sure of their fitness first.
Pardew said diplomatically: “The French manager needs to see them fit and ready before the World Cup.”
Although he privately insists they remain committed to the cause, he knows having players of their calibre back would be useful as they look to bounce back after a run of heavy defeats.
Pardew added: “We have played some tough games.
“Those last three games would be tough on anyone’s schedule but we like to think we would give a better performance and result than we have.
“Of course we owe it to our fans to put solid performances in every week.
“We’re still going to fight to the end. You always fear injuries but when you have winning momentum it’s a powerful tool but the momentum is the other way now.
“We’re looking to kick-start that reverse. People can accuse us of all sorts of things.
“If we can get a win or maybe score the first goal that will give us a boost and we can kick on form there. We’re far from finished in the league.
“You need to stand tall and be strong.
“Particularly at a club like this because it’s a tough club to play for, Hopefully, we can show that resilience to get a result.”
Pardew is also pleased Lee Charnley has been handed the club’s managing director role – and is predicting a big summer for the club.
He said: “I’m pleased Lee has been appointed in that role.
“He’s somebody who knows the club inside out, he’s worked on transfers and has good experience on those.
“I hope we can work together in the summer to secure the players we need and we’re focusing on that at the moment.
“There’s no conflict in terms of where we’re going.
“The owner’s set out the criteria and we have to bring in players to take us forward. We are in a position to bring in players in the summer and hopefully push on from where we finish this season and that’s likely to be eighth, ninth or 10th.
“We have to reflect on what happens to the squad. If there are two or three who leave then we have to replace them on top of the two we want to bring in.
“There’s no doubt after the loss of Cabaye we need to add quality. The Remy situation also needs to be addressed.”