ALAN Pardew wants Newcastle United to secure European football against Stoke City – then ask Tony Pulis a favour!
The Magpies can mathematically guarantee a return to Europe after a five-year absence by taking three points from Pulis’s side at the Sports Direct Arena on Saturday.
A win would mean Everton would be unable to overhaul fifth-placed Newcastle, securing for Pardew’s team the Europa League place that was set to be awarded to the winners of the FA Cup final.
Stoke qualified for Europe through the cup last season, and moved beyond the group stage before being knocked out of the Round of 32 by Valencia.
However, the club’s progression on the continent came at a price, and they have struggled for consistency in the Premier League this season.
Pardew, wary of the demands a European campaign would put on his squad, is keen to talk to Pulis about his experiences in the gruelling competition, which would be certain to take a toll on United, even if the club’s squad is significantly strengthened in the summer.
“Stoke are a team we’re trying to emulate,” said Pardew. “They got in the Europa League last year through the FA Cup, but they played in Europe on merit.
“That affected their league position this season, and it’s something I’ll have a conversation about with Tony Pulis after the game.”
Stoke – who played 14 games in Europe – are 14th in the league, and struggling for form, having won just one of their last seven games.
The Potters haven’t won away in the league since January, when they overcame relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
However, Pardew – whose side claimed a memorable 3-1 win at the Britannia Stadium back in October thanks to a hat-trick from Demba Ba – won’t be underestimating Pulis’s powerful team, whose direct style of play has troubled Newcastle in previous seasons.
“They’ve still got great players, and we can’t underestimate them,” said Pardew. “It’ll be tough. Too much focus is on their style of play, as they’ve got quality players.”
Cheik Tiote is back in training and ready to take on Stoke City.
Tiote missed Newcastle’s last game – the Easter Monday win over Bolton Wanderers – with a hamstring injury. The influential midfielder was taken off at Swansea City on Good Friday with a recurrance of a problem he originally suffered last month.
However, the 25-year-old’s set to return against Stoke, while Danny Guthrie (calf) and James Perch (thigh) also have a chance of being involved.