ALAN Pardew today insisted Newcastle United with have the firepower to challenge for the a cup next season.
Pardew would love to see Newcastle – who last won a trophy in 1969 – emulate tomorrow’s opponents, Birmingham City, and win the Carling Cup next season.
Birmingham ended their long search for silverware in February, when they beat Arsenal at Wembley to lift the cup.
But first his players must focus on securing a top-10 finish in the Premier League.
Pardew’s side lie 12th in the table with three games left to play, and the 49-year-old believes two wins could be enough to achieve their aim.
“We’ve got to be nailed on Premiership top 10 side – that’s our priority – then the cups, and then after that the Champions League,” Pardew said.
“That’s the order I’ll be working in next year.
“We’ll have a young squad next year, with younger players coming through – (Shane) Ferguson, (Dan) Gosling, and (Haris) Vuckic – and new players to add to that.
“But next year is next year. This weekend is all about Birmingham.
“They’ve done very, very well to win that cup. It’s something we’re very jealous of, as we’d love it to be us.
“We need to focus on these three games. We need to finish well.”
United were disappointingly beaten 3-0 at Anfield in their last fixture, though Pardew felt the criticism that came his team’s way after the result was “exaggerated”.
Pardew went on: “It’s always about the next game. I thought we took a lot of criticism for that performance at Liverpool. I thought it was slightly exaggerated.
“Some of the criticism against some of the players was a bit personal, I thought. We need to use that as a fuel for this weekend.
“We’ve got 50,000 turning up, and we need to give a proper performance.”