Pardew keeping his focus
The Magpies have demonstrated an unenviable capacity to generate unwelcome headlines on and off the pitch over the years and successive managers have spent much of their time fighting fires. However, as Manchester City counterpart Roberto Martinez deals with the ongoing Carlos Tevez saga and Sunderland manager Steve Bruce finds himself deprived of the services of suspended defender Titus Bramble amid a police investigation into allegations of sexual assault and possession of a Class A drug, Pardew is for once able to concentrate on the task of maintaining his side's flying start to the season. Newcastle head for Wolves sitting in fourth place in the Premier League table with a rare peace seemingly having broken out at St James' Park. But Pardew, who has had to handle the alleged off-field indiscretions of young striker Nile Ranger in recent months, has been around long enough to know that things can change rapidly. He said: "You have sometimes got to be smart enough to know that it goes around, and conflict and off-field activity will stain us, I am sure, this year. "The way the media is, the way society is, you can almost expect it to happen, so it is just about making sure you keep those incidents to a minimum, that you try to instill in the players a discipline about their role at the football club. "It is not just playing, it is about representing the club, and Nile Ranger is finding out at the moment how difficult that can be. "You have always got somebody going through one of those periods." In the meantime, the Magpies are revelling in a run of form which has seen them remain unbeaten in eight games in all competitions so far this season to confound the predictions of those who thought they may struggle. The departures of Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton after they were unable to agree new contracts deprived the manager not only of quality and experience, but of two of two of the most prominent voices in the dressing room. However, the spirit the pair helped to foster remains intact and with new signings Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba in particular having made encouraging impacts, confidence is high. Pardew said: "It just goes to show you, it is not about one or two players or even three players, it's about the group. "The staff have all been here a long time. When I arrived, some of the staff members had been here about 15 years - we had gone through about five people like me, maybe six, even - so they have great experience of how to keep an even keel. "I have enjoyed working with them. That group has been together a long time and that is part of it. "It's also the standards we set on the training ground and on the pitch, and what we will accept and won't accept in terms of behaviour. It all adds to the spirit. "Certainly, the foundations were laid and put down by the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and people like that because team spirit is important to those types of players. "It's a trait that if you are a Newcastle player, you need to have." Despite the air of positivity surrounding St James' Park, Pardew will send his side out at Molineux under orders to take nothing for granted. He said: "If you were looking at the game on form, yes, we should win the game, but the Premier League throws the form book out of the window at times. "Wolves are the type that upset that with their work-rate and their commitment to the cause. They have got good players in there, so it is a difficult game."