Paul Dummett can expect an extended run in the Newcastle United side during the closing weeks of the season in a move which could threaten Davide Santon’s future at the club.
The Wales international has featured in the Magpies’ last six games, starting four of the last five and coming on at half-time in the other.
With Pardew planning to experiment in the final 10 matches of the season, left-back Dummett can expect a key role.
As well as being Newcastle’s regular left-back, Dummett has taken over set-piece duties since the sale of Yohan Cabaye.
Santon has been suffering with a minor knee injury but Pardew has hinted Dummett may have overtaken him in the pecking order. That could persuade the Italian to push for a summer move, with AC Milan long-time admirers of the former Inter player.
Manager Pardew said of Dummett, “We have been patient with him, but he has got a natural left foot and he’s a powerful player, good in the air – he has got a lot of attributes.
“I just felt the team was getting a little bit predictable and a left-foot down that side suddenly opened up the pitch a little bit for us, and he has taken that opportunity.
“We have still got Massadio (Haidara) pushing him and obviously Davide when he comes back, so there’s really hot competition for that role.”
Haidara made an impressive start to his Newcastle career after joining from Nancy in January 2013, but has only started one Premier League game since picking up a knee injury at Wigan Athletic almost a year ago, at West Bromwich Albion in April.
Santon’s natural position is right-back but he has only started there in four of his 91 appearances. Newcastle’s first-choice there, Mathieu Debuchy, has arguably been the Premier League’s best right-back this season.
An Italian website this week reported that Santon’s agent, Renzo Contratto, was trying to negotiate a summer move for his client.
AC Milan are long-time admirers but, as Calciomercato pointed out, financing a deal would be difficult if the Rossoneri cannot secure European football for next season. They are 10th in Serie A. Santon made his Inter debut in 2008, leaving for Newcastle three years later.
With his side firmly in mid-table, Pardew will spend the remaining games of this season experimenting for 2014-15.
Newcastle are only two points off seventh, which will be enough for Europa League qualification if two from Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton contest the FA Cup final. But the Magpies’ antipathy towards Uefa’s second-tier competition is well known.
Pardew wanted a stronger British influence on his team last summer, but director of football Joe Kinnear was unable to deliver the signings he wanted. Newcastle’s English-born players have 37 Premier League starts between them this season, 22 from centre-back Mike Williamson.
Despite being a Welsh international, 22-year-old Dummett was born in Newcastle.
Pardew is not expected to appeal his Football Association violent conduct charge before today’s 6pm deadline. He was sent to the stands for headbutting Hull City’s David Meyler and may be banned from his club’s remaining matches this season.
Pardew’s experimental approach to the run-in could open the door for other youngsters.
After returning from injury for the under-21s at Blackburn Rovers on Monday, Gael Bigirimana is hoping to be another beneficiary.
“I’m just trying to ease my way back to my fitness levels and it was a good run-out,” he told the club’s official website.
“Last year, I did myself some justice and everybody saw what I can do. Sometimes you’ve just got to be patient and wait for another door to open.”
Meanwhile, a March 17 date has been set for the under-21s’ Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final against Whitley Bay.
The Magpies had been drawn at home, but the game has been switched to Hillheads. It will kick off at 7.30pm.