NEWCASTLE United’s pre-season campaign is going to plan, according to manager Alan Pardew.
Pardew’s team ended their three-game United States tour with a morale-boosting win last night.
Next up for Newcastle are Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday, when Pardew will have Joey Barton, Yohan Cabaye and Nile Ranger, all denied work visits for the United States, available for the club’s penultimate friendly.
With United having ended an at-times troubled tour on a high at the Crew Stadium, Pardew – who lost Shane Ferguson and Danny Guthrie to injury in Newcastle’s first friendly at Darlington – is upbeat going into the final two games against Leeds and Fiorentina.
“The build up of the pre-season’s going to plan,” Pardew said.
“We’ve had injuries, which I wish I hadn’t have had. They’ve all been impact injuries – Guthrie, Fergie and Hatem were. We’ve been unlucky, but the boys are in great shape and we’re starting to carve things up.
“Joey comes back into the frame and so does Cabaye.
“It’ll come together at Leeds.”
Pardew was speaking after his side comfortably overcame Columbus Crew 3-0 on a balmy night in the U.S.
United took the early initiative and Shola Ameobi’s ninth-minute goal saw them seize control of the game.
And after home goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was dismissed for handling outside the box under pressure from Demba Ba on the stroke of half-time, there was no looking back for Newcastle.
Ameobi and Ba were lively up front and Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor largely untroubled at the back.
Coloccini doubled the advantage from a Sylvain Marveaux corner in the 54th minute, the defender benefiting from a couple of deflections to coolly roll the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
And substitute Haris Vuckic, in the words of one American commentator, “put a bow on it” in injury time with a stunning goal from the edge of the box.
There were other positives, as well.
James Tavernier, starting at right-back with Danny Simpson back in England after the birth of his child, rampaged up the flank throughout the first half and Dan Gosling looked sharp and fit.
Gosling – whose guile will be needed in the coming season – almost created a first goal for summer signing Demba Ba with a clever backheel, but the striker couldn’t make the most of the opportunity.
Still, the three goals were reward enough for United’s fans after the games in Kansas and Florida.
And with Joey Barton and Yohan Cabaye to be added to the squad for Sunday’s visit to Leeds United, the gloom that had darkened the middle part of the trip has now lifted.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Harper; Tavernier, S Taylor, Coloccini (Dummett, 54), Enrique; Gutierrez (Abeid, 85), Tiote (Smith, 62), Gosling, Marveaux (Vuckic, 76); Ameobi (Best, 75), Ba. Subs not used: Forster, Krul.