Pardew protecting his strikers

BY foxsports • February 7, 2011

Andy Carroll's £35million departure for Liverpool and Shola Ameobi's fractured cheekbone - the 29-year-old is due to undergo surgery on Tuesday - left Pardew with just Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger available for Saturday's remarkable 4-4 Premier League draw with the Gunners. All three were involved in the eight-goal thriller but neither 19-year-old Ranger nor 24-year-old Best will fulfil their expected international commitments this week having been withdrawn from the England Under-20 squad and the Republic of Ireland senior set-up. Best limped off with a tight hamstring at the end of Saturday's epic encounter, and while Ranger finished the game, both have been withdrawn as a precaution. Newcastle travel to Blackburn on Saturday hoping to gain revenge for a 2-1 home defeat by Rovers on November 10. Carroll's exit has stretched Pardew's resources to the limit, and he has admitted he will look to the free agent market to see if he can strengthen his squad with former Middlesbrough forward Jeremie Aliadiere, with whom he worked briefly at West Ham, among the players under consideration. He said: "There are one or two players we are looking at. I don't think we are going to get anyone who could impact on the first team, but on the bench, I need to turn round to that bench and have people who can affect the game. "We will look, perhaps, to that market for maybe one or maybe two if necessary."

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