Pardew eyes silverware
The Magpies last lifted silverware when they won the European Fairs Cup in 1969, and have not claimed a major domestic prize since the 1955 FA Cup Final. Pardew admits it may be several years before they can dream again of breaking into the top six on a regular basis and challenging for honours in the league in the wake of the financial restructuring the club underwent following relegation from the top flight two years ago. However, he is confident that shrewd investment to increase both the size and the quality of his squad will allow them to target cup success and follow in the footsteps of Birmingham, who claimed the Carling Cup this season. Newcastle had already bowed out of the League cup when Pardew arrived on Tyneside in December and made a swift and embarrassing third round exit in the FA Cup at the hands of League Two Stevenage, but he is planning a serious assault next time around. The manager said: "The thing we really need to bring into this club is two or three players who have real flair and can excite our crowd. "It is going to be very, very difficult, of course, to break into that Champions League position or push for Europe at this stage, but it would be nice to play a brand of football that is suited to Newcastle, an attacking, front foot type of game-plan in every game we play and see where it takes us. "That's the key because if we have a bigger squad, then maybe we can attack one of the cups. "That's probably the first thing on our agenda, to try to win a cup as soon as we can. "When I was at West Ham, we targeted the FA Cup and came within a whisker of winning it, so it's not something I have lost focus on. "The squad this year was really small and that worried me. We didn't, of course, set out to lose at Stevenage, but maybe on reflection, that result didn't do us any harm in terms of getting a strong position in the league with the small squad we have." Newcastle could finish as high as ninth with victory over fellow promoted side West Brom at St James' Park tomorrow, a result which would ensure they end the campaign above arch-rivals Sunderland. In any event, they will be no lower than 14, and that is a noteworthy achievement considering the difficulties normally experienced by top flight newcomers and the fact that Hatem Ben Arfa has missed most of the campaign through injury, and that key striker Andy Carroll was sold in January. Pardew is under no illusion that things will be any easier next season and will not allow the club to stand still. He said: "The second year in the Premier League, as we know, can be tricky, it can be troublesome. "You lose the euphoria of promotion, so we have to be very careful and make sure we are very professional next year and that we do things really, really well - and we have a bigger squad." To that end, Pardew met owner Mike Ashley yesterday to discuss his summer recruitment plans. He described reports linking the club with the likes of West Ham striker Demba Ba and Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia as "unsavoury" with the Hammers already down and the Latics fighting for their lives, and was giving nothing away as to the identities of the men in his sights. He said: "He [Ashley] was here yesterday. We had a good meeting and we discussed some possible targets. "Mike will digest the figures and we will go from there."