Alan Pardew – We need a bigger squad

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ALAN Pardew bemoaned his paper-thin squad after Newcastle United’s 1-0 defeat at Villa Park.

And Pardew – who named four teenagers on the bench – is adamant that his playing staff needs significant strengthening in the summer.

Teenagers Shane Ferguson, Michael Richardson, Ryan Donaldson and James Tavernier were named on the Newcastle bench yesterday, Pardew’s options having been decimated by injury and suspension.

Pardew, already without a number of key players, lost Shola Ameobi on the eve of the game with a knee injury.

And Pardew felt the squad’s lack of depth was laid bare on an afternoon which had promised so much, United having been upbeat about their chances of reaching the 42-point mark in the Premier League by claiming a win.

However, their hopes were undone by James Collins’s first-half goal.

“There were not a lot of options on the bench for us, and that’s a worry for us,” Pardew said.

“When games are not really flowing, and there’s nothing happening, you want to try to change it.

“We had three young boys on the bench – we didn’t have the options we should have for a club our size.

“That’s a little note for next year. We don’t want to get in that situation again, Villa bought on the likes of (Nigel) Reo-Coker, (Emile) Heskey and (Robert) Pires, and it makes a big difference.”

Ameobi will have his swollen knee scanned today, and Pardew is hopeful the striker will be available for Newcastle’s next game, the home fixture against Premier League leaders Manchester United on April 19.

“He will have a scan on Monday,” said Pardew.

“We will wait and see what the scan says. We’re hoping it’s good news, and we will rest him until Man United.”

Pardew will have Cheik Tiote back from suspension for Man United.

“Now we have a little period again to get to the Man United game,” he went on. “Cheik will be back, and that’s important for us.”