Pardew: Players must show hunger

The Magpies head for relegation-threatened Blackpool on Saturday

having reached 40 points for the campaign with a hard-fought draw

against Manchester United on Tuesday evening to edge themselves

closer to Premier League safety. Victory at Bloomfield Road would

surely end any lingering fears of being sucked into the relegation

fight and allow the club to start planning for the new season.

Pardew’s scouts have already scattered far and wide in anticipation

of a busy summer with the club intending to invest a large

proportion of the £35million they received from Liverpool for

Andy Carroll in January on new recruits. However, they will first

need to thrash out the way forward with the likes of full-back Jose

Enrique, who has been strongly tipped to follow Carroll to Anfield,

Joey Barton and skipper Kevin Nolan, whose contracts are running

down, linked with exits. Enrique and Barton have put talks on hold

with the latter indicating that his decision will depend on how

much ambition the club’s hierarchy shows this summer. But Pardew

insists the remaining five games also give those players an

opportunity to prove that they are worth a new deal. He said: “We

are not really going to do anything in terms of the players we have

here until the end of the season. “That’s right and proper because

we have got the keep the players hungry and fighting to the end to

earn that new contract. That’s important.” All three have proved

key figures this season and in an ideal world, the manager would

love to retain their services. Nolan, in particular, has continued

where he left off in the Championship, leading by example and

chipping in with 12 goals. Pardew has admitted he did not realise

just how good a player the former Bolton man, who will return from

suspension at Blackpool, was until he saw him at close hand. Asked

if he has been surprised by Nolan’s influence, he replied: “A

little bit, and not just by his character and the leadership

qualities he has, but as a player. “He’s a much more accomplished

player than I expected him to be – but when you actually look at

what he has done, it makes more sense. “For a midfield player, his

finishing is outstanding – as good as any striker I have worked

with – and he does all the other stuff you need to do as a central

midfield player. “He’s a very, very important player.” Newcastle

head for Blackpool determined to gain revenge for their 2-0 home

defeat in September, and while Pardew will have no qualms about

increasing Ian Holloway’s woes, he knows his opposite number will

not stop fighting. The Magpies boss said: “People think he is just

a two-season wonder, but I have been coming up against Ian for a

long time and he is a capable manager. “He knows exactly what is

right for his team, better than the media or any other manager. He

knows what he’s got there and believe you me, if anybody can get it

out of a team, it’s him. “He’s an outstanding manager and somebody

I really like. I like his flamboyant nature and what he does and

what he represents. “He represents good things in the game and you

have to admire that in him. “His team deserved all the plaudits

they got earlier in the season. “Now, it’s a different agenda. They

are taking a little bit of criticism and it’s something else they

have to deal with. “That’s the Premier League – it gives you

different challenges. The challenge in front of them now, of

course, is to stay in the division, and I think there’s enough

fight in that team to do it.”