Newcastle chief stands by under-fire central defence

Newcastle's Mike Williamson loses out to Peter Crouch at Stoke last month

Newcastle's Mike Williamson loses out to Peter Crouch at Stoke last month

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NEWCASTLE manager Alan Pardew will resist the temptation to reshuffle his defence – after it underwent a trial by TV.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Steven Taylor and Massadio Haidara are patiently waiting for an opportunity, ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate match of the Premier League season at home to Cardiff tomorrow.

Mike Williamson’s central defensive partnership with captain Fabricio Coloccini was brutally pulled apart by Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher after the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on Monday night.

But Coloccini remains the first name on Pardew’s teamsheet.

And Pardew will also keep faith with Williamson – who has been a Premier League ever-present for since Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Cardiff in early October – after speaking to him this week.

“There are options, but I think Willo had a great run of form, and I think we need him on Saturday,” Pardew said.

“He’ll play. I spoke to him, and I expect him to play a lot better on Saturday. I think he’ll respond to that.”

Neville and Carragher highlighted what they felt was a lack of communication between Coloccini and his defensive colleagues against Arsenal in their Monday Night Football show.