Boss happy with captaincy call
The 29-year-old Argentina international was perhaps a surprise choice to take over the armband when Kevin Nolan left the club for West Ham, but has led his side to an encouraging start to the season despite the madness that has gone on around the squad during yet another eventful period in the club's recent history. Coloccini's style maybe a little different to some of his predecessors, with the former Deportivo la Coruna defender happy to lead by example rather than making his voice heard on and off the field. However, as he prepares to send his side into battle once again against Fulham on Sunday, Pardew has paid tribute to the way his new skipper has risen to the challenge. He said: "You have to be very impressed with him as a person. "He's taken it almost as a mission in terms of coming to talk to me and understanding what I am trying to achieve, understanding what the club is trying to achieve. "I have been very impressed with him, and not only his leadership, but his playing as well, which has been of the highest order so far." Coloccini, a £10.3million signing during the summer of 2008, has been one of the Magpies most dependable performers in the last two seasons after emerging from an intensely difficult start to his career in England. But he has now established himself to the extent that he has become a cult hero on Tyneside. Indeed, his form during the opening three games of the new campaign has scaled new heights, and his performance in the 1-0 derby win at Sunderland last weekend in particular was exemplary. Asked if the captaincy had brought even more out of the South American, Pardew said: "I think that's fair to say. "He has taken on a responsibility for the team, for the club, I have certainly felt that in conversations with him. "Some players, you sense, will grow with the captaincy, and he is certainly one of those." Coloccini and Pardew have had to deal with the task of rallying their troops once again this weekend after influential midfielder Joey Barton's divorce from the club with which he had conducted a tempestuous four-year relationship was finalised. Whatever else Barton brought to the party, his contribution on the pitch last season was a major factor in Newcastle securing their Barclays Premier League status. That process this time around will continue without him as the Magpies attempt to land their remaining transfer targets and build upon a return of four points from their two league games to date. Tomorrow's opponents Fulham have only an opening day draw at home to Aston Villa to show for their efforts to date, although with eight European games also under their belts, they have had more time to settle than their hosts. Pardew has sensed a slightly different approach under new boss Martin Jol as he too attempts to introduce a different philosophy. He said: "They are playing a little bit more expansively under Martin Jol. "There has been a little tweak of their style and obviously, we are tweaking our style a little bit. We haven't actually got it as I want it yet."