Pardew gives Trapattoni his Best
The Magpies frontman was notable by his absence from the Ireland squad for the recent qualifiers against Andorra and Armenia despite having scored three times already in his club's fine start to the Premier League campaign. Asked about Best in Dublin last week, Trapattoni insisted he had not forgotten him, but having watched him play in Newcastle's 2-1 win at Wolves a couple of days earlier, said he needed to work harder for his team before he was recalled to the international stage. That came as something of a surprise to Pardew, who has recommended the 25-year-old to the veteran Italian as he begins preparations for next month's Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia with Kevin Doyle suspended and Robbie Keane facing a race against time to be fit. Pardew said of Trapattoni's assessment of Best: "That did surprise me. I thought he played very, very well that day [at Wolves] and I thought he worked very hard for the team. "We have got contrasting views on that, and I think if he picked Leon Best, he might be surprised. "They have got some good strikers, to be fair to the manager, and he picks who he wants. "But in my book at the moment, Leon Best is playing very, very well and working hard." Best and his team-mates will attempt to extend their unbeaten start to the new season to 10 games in all competitions and eight in the league when Tottenham visit St James' Park on Sunday. The Magpies currently occupy fourth place in the table, a position significantly above their target for the campaign, but one to which they are clinging on gamely. Newcastle have surprised many onlookers with their form to date and a rare air of calm has descended on Tyneside. Pardew, of course, arrived at St James' amid something of a furore in the wake of Chris Hughton's untimely demise, and admitted from the off that he would have to win over the dissenters. He maintains that is still a work in progress, and he knows Sunday's game will be the sternest test yet of his rebuilt team's pedigree. Pardew said: "I wouldn't be sitting here saying I have won them over at this stage. "It's just important that I think they are sensing that we have got a plan and we are trying to put it in place and put pace in the team and play the game in the Newcastle manner. "Sunday will be a watershed for us because we are in good form and we are playing one of the top teams in good form, so it's going to be a real test for us to try to compete with Tottenham. "But our bench looks a lot stronger than it did last year, a lot stronger, and that's going to help. "At home, we don't really fear anybody and we didn't last year. We had different characters in the dressing room who didn't have that in them anyway - Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan don't carry that fear. "But we have got a different side this year and their lack of fear comes more from the run that we have been on and the confidence they have in each other. "We look on the training ground a confident team, and that is always the way you want to go into a game, in a really confident manner, and that's where we are at the moment."