Pardew targets end of drought

Pardew knows the Premier League title is only a dream for a club

like his as it continues its recovery from a humiliating relegation

two years ago and tries to re-establish itself as a top-flight

fixture. However, he is confident there is enough talent within the

squad to mount a genuine challenge for silverware in the domestic

cup competitions just as Birmingham did last year, although without

suffering the same fate in the league. Pardew said: “A realistic

target for this football club must be a cup competition because the

Premier League title, with all due respect, is not a viable

situation for us. “You want to be in the game to win things, that’s

what we are in it for, so the two cup competitions are very big for

us this year. “I guess what happened to Birmingham last year isn’t

going to fill us all with great enthusiasm in terms of winning the

cup and being relegated. “But if you feel you are strong enough to

attack the cup and attack the Premier League with the squad you

have, then of course it’s a target. “For us, you only had to look

at our bench on Saturday and the players who didn’t make the bench

– like Alan Smith, for example – to know that I feel we are much

stronger squad-wise this year to attack this competition, and also

to attack the FA Cup.” Newcastle have not won a major trophy since

lifting the Fairs Cup in 1969, and last tasted domestic glory in

the 1955 FA Cup final. But they head into their clash with League

One Scunthorpe brimming with confidence after following up their

opening-day Barclays Premier League draw with Arsenal by defeating

arch-rivals Sunderland on their own park. Pardew will make changes

for the trip to Glanford Park as he rests some of his key men and

also eases some of his summer signings and fringe players into the

picture. That could mean involvement for the likes of Sylvain

Marveaux, Mehdi Abeid, Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi, while

striker Demba Ba could have a further chance to stake his claim.

However, midfielder Joey Barton will not be involved as he starts

talks with QPR over a proposed move to the London club. The

28-year-old’s future has been uncertain with the club having made

him available on a free transfer following a Twitter rant over

their summer recruitment policy in the wake of their decision not

to offer him a new deal. However, Pardew has been happy to select

Barton, who is in the final year of his current deal, but may now

have that option taken away from him. He was not going to play him

against Scunthorpe anyway, owing to concerns over a foot injury,

but had been planning on recalling him to face Fulham at the

weekend – a decision he may now need to review if Barton joins Neil

Warnock’s side in the coming days.