ALAN Pardew has challenged his Newcastle United players to “step up to the plate” – before it’s too late.
Pardew’s side went into this afternoon’s game against Swansea City without a win in the Premier League.
And the Magpies’ plight at the foot of the division has led to more calls for Pardew’s dismissal.
Pardew said he planned to make changes to his team after Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
However, the 53-year-old will “lean on” his experienced players, including previously-relegated captain Fabricio Coloccini.
“It’s important we step up to the plate,” said Pardew. “We need to lean on the experienced players.
“Coloccini has been relegated here. He knows what can happen at this football club, and that was a bloody good squad which went down.
“This is a much younger squad than that. We haven’t got time to wait for players to come through. We need that to happen now.”
With Siem de Jong sidelined until the new year, the onus is on his fellow summer signing Remy Cabella to make the team tick in the final third of the pitch.
Cabella, however, is still adjusting to the pace and power of the Premier League.
“Remy Cabella has got to start performing now,” said Pardew.
“Our younger players, like Sammy (Ameobi) and (Paul) Dummett, have got to deliver now – we aren’t hanging about anymore.
“You have to deliver now, but that might not be a bad thing. If we were in this position with six games I’d be worried. We’ve got a lot of games to go and we’re getting battle-hardened.
“We’ve had good aggression on the training ground this week.”
The club’s summer signings have had a baptism of fire over the past two months given the off-the-field protests against Pardew.
“It’s something you can’t disguise from them,” he said.“Initially this season, I could shield them to a degree. I was trying to shield them from the pressure that was coming on me.
“This is a difficult club to play for, I think.
“It can be the greatest club in the world to play for when you are winning, but we are not winning, so it becomes even harder to play for us, and we need to make sure we can handle that.
“These players are going to learn more in the next six weeks, probably, than they have for the last two years of their careers.”