ALAN Pardew today challenged Newcastle United to secure their Premier League status at Villa Park.
Pardew is convinced 42 points will be enough for the club to stay in the division.
And Pardew is upbeat about Newcastle’s chances of claiming three points from tomorrow’s visit to Aston Villa, despite the injuries and suspensions which have decimated his midfield and attacking options.
“It would be a fantastic achievement with six games to go,” Pardew said.
“Quite rightly, we could celebrate that night and then it would be back down to work.
“We haven’t done that yet – we want to get that win. With 42 points and our goal difference, it’s done, in my opinion.”
Newcastle were relegated at Villa Park on the last day of that season and Pardew, right, says what happened that day will be “remembered” in his dressing room before kick off.
A number of his players were on the pitch that day and will have their own memories, not least of being jeered and mocked by Villa supporters on a pre-match walk from their team hotel.
Pardew went on: “I’m not going to dwell on that, but it’s important for the players to recognise it was a hurtful day.
“It’s remembered in the dressing room and we’ll take that out on the pitch. .”
Meanwhile, Pardew has backed Joey Barton – who will captain United tomorrow in the absence through suspension of Kevin Nolan – for an England recall in the wake of the midfielder’s controversial comments about Gareth Barry.
Barton questioned why Manchester City’s Barry was still an international player.
Pardew, for his part, believes 28-year-old Barton’s form warrants a return to the England fold.
“He’s playing well and has his life in order and long may that continue,” he said.
Unfortunately for Nolan and United, he won’t be involved himself at the stadium where the club was relegation on the final day of the 2008/09 season.
However, the 28-year-old still plans to travel to the Midlands and support his team-mates.
“I still wanted to go back there and right a few wrongs on the pitch, but it hasn’t worked out that way,” Nolan said.
“But I’ll be there supporting the lads anyway.”
The taunts from home supporters, not to mention a now-infamous ‘Who’s your next Messiah – Ant or Dec?’ banner, haven’t been forgotten on Tyneside.
“We haven’t got a score to settle, or a point to prove,” Nolan went on. “It wasn’t down to that one game – it was over a season why we got relegated.
“It wasn’t down to Villa, even though it sticks out in people’s minds.”
While Pardew is without Leon Best, ruled out for the season through injury, he’s confident Shola Ameobi can be a nuisance for Villa.
The striker having capped an outstanding performance in United’s 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers a week ago with a goal.
“The only thing you can hold against Shola is his consistency,” added Pardew. “I’ve said to him in this back end of the season we need him to produce the level of performance he did against Wolves.”
“Hopefully, the fans who were there go back this time. Although they’ll have sad memories, they can sing their hearts out and the lads can then return the favour with a win. It’s a win that we need.”