Pardew keeps sights on top six

BY foxsports • January 19, 2012

This week's capture of Senegal international striker Papiss Demba Cisse, a deal which is understood to have cost the Magpies close to £10million, represented a statement of intent by owner Mike Ashley with the club sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table.

Pardew admitted earlier in the campaign that expecting his side to maintain their fine start over the course of the season was unrealistic because of the gulf in finances between them and the leading clubs.

However, while Cisse's influence will not be brought to bear until he returns from the African Nations Cup along with key men Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote, the manager insists Newcastle will give it everything they have got to upset the established order.

He said: "The more it goes and the closer it gets to the end. I have said all along, that last six games, if we can find ourselves in with a shout, there might be less pressure on us, so we could make an impact.

"We are, after 21 games, the sixth best team, and that's what we can try to improve on.

"It would be an absolute marvel if we finished sixth or fifth, but we are going to try, and see where it takes us."

Last weekend's hard-fought 1-0 win over QPR eased Pardew's man above big-spending Liverpool and left them level on points with fifth-placed Arsenal, two clubs who have spent much of the Premier League era battling it out for honours.

Asked if they are long-term targets for the Magpies, Pardew said: "Forget about long term, this season, they are in our sights, as much as we are in the sights of Aston Villa and Everton, who are not that far behind.

"You have constantly got to be on your guard, but you can't afford not to dream and aim for higher, otherwise where you fall is going to be considerably lower.

"We are aiming for them and we will see where we go.

"We are trying to compete against teams who are way above us financially - and I am not talking about Manchester United, I am talking about Liverpool.

"It's a huge step we are trying to bridge."

The capture of Cisse, who has nine Bundesliga goals to his name for Freiburg to date this season, will add another string to Pardew's bow, although he knows it could take the 26-year-old time to assume the mantle of the famous number nine shirt he has inherited from most recent occupant, Andy Carroll.

He said: "He is never going to be able to absorb that until he walks out with the shirt on in front of 52,000 Geordies.

"I know the sort of welcome they are going to give him - he doesn't.

"By the same token, if he goes 10 games without scoring a goal, I know how difficult it is going to become for him, so it's an important period."

In the meantime, Pardew, who still hopes to land a defender, will hope to reach the end of the transfer window with his squad intact amid speculation that the likes of Ba, Tiote, Tim Krul or Fabricio Coloccini could be lured away this month, as Carroll was a year ago.

He said: "We have said to clubs, 'Don't be coming to us on the last day', but that doesn't mean to say the last-day scenario can't happen.

"It can, so we have just got to be very, very careful, keep our nose to the business that's going on and be conscious that we have to react.

"We have to react if something comes up, but there has been no contact, there are no scares for us.

"We are hoping to run to the summer with all the players we have got."


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