NEWCASTLE United boss Alan Pardew could again play three at the back – as he feels the club is “overloaded” with centre-halves.
Pardew fielded Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor against Stoke City last weekend in a surprise move.
Newcastle had conceded 11 goals in their three previous Premier League games.
And Pardew – who used Paul Dummett and Vurnon Anita as wing-backs – felt the ploy, for the most part, worked at the Britannia Stadium, where Newcastle were undone by a misdirected cross from Erik Pieters.
Pardew is assessing his options for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Swansea City, for which right-back Mathieu Debuchy could be fit after a six-game absence.
“I tried to play three and have a look at it, and we did a really good job,” Pardew said.
“I thought we had a good base to the game in terms of how we were set up.
“We’re obviously overloaded with quality centre-backs.
“It’s something I’m looking at as we have Colo, Tayls, Mapou (Yanga-Mbiwa) and Willo.”
Injury-hit Pardew – who also hopes to have leading scorer Loic Remy back – must find a way to win with the players he has available.
Travelling fans at Stoke chanted, for the first time, for the 52-year-old to be sacked, and the home crowd could on him turn if things go against them against Swansea.
“As far as I’m concerned, we have to get a system that works for us with the players we have available,” added Pardew.
“We’ve got 10 senior players missing – that’s a problem.”
United are ninth in the table with four games left to play.
Meanwhile, midfielder Moussa Sissoko – who has a hamstring problem – could be fit for the visit to Arsenal on April 28, having tweeted that he will be “back soon”.
Sissoko suffered the injury in the 4-0 defeat to Southampton late last month.