ALAN Pardew retains the backing of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley – despite the club’s dismal run of form.
A report yesterday claimed that manager Pardew faced the sack if United fail to beat Aston Villa this coming Sunday.
But it is understood that Pardew’s job is not under threat, despite a run of defeats and increasing unrest among supporters, who were angered by the team’s performance in the Tyne-Wear derby earlier this month.
Newcastle, beaten 3-0 by Sunderland, have lost their last three games without scoring a goal.
The club’s 4-0 defeat to Tottenham last Wednesday night was the Magpies’ fifth successive home reverse.
Newcastle’s season has unravelled since the sale of midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in last month’s transfer window, while Pardew’s options have also been limited by injury and suspension.
However, the club remains ninth in the Premier League with 12 games left to play.
Ashley’s pre-season goal was a top-10 finish, and a club bonus scheme will pay out if the team ends the campaign in the top half of the table.
Pardew and his coaching staff are under contract at St James’s Park until 2020.
And the message from within the club is that it is “business as usual” at St James’s Park.
Pardew has come under renewed fire from supporters in recent weeks, with the club’s third successive loss to Sunderland having prompted a backlash against the 52-year-old, the Premier League’s second-longest serving manager behind Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
The team has lost every game since Cabaye completed his move to Paris Saint-Germain last month.
Pardew has also lost a number of players to injuries, while leading scorer Loic Remy has been absent for three games through suspension.
Remy will be available to face Villa, while Pardew is hopeful that captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheik Tiote will be fit to face Paul Lambert’s side.
Ashley, meanwhile, was last week photographed with former United managing director Derek Llambias, an ally of Pardew’s during his time at the club.
Llambias spelled out the club’s aim for this season last May after Newcastle stayed up.
“We are now looking forward and are entirely focused on the forthcoming campaign, with the expectation of at least a top-10 finish in the Premier League,” he said.
Llambias – who resigned after Joe Kinnear was appointed director of football last June – had held an end-of-season inquest into a disappointing campaign with Pardew and Ashley last summer.
Pardew, frustrated that Cabaye wasn’t replaced, has already indicated the squad needs “rebuilding” in the next transfer window.
Kinnear left United earlier this month, and it remains to be seen if the club replace him in the summer, or appoint a managing director or chief executive officer, to oversee the process.
H Adam Armstrong scored the only goal of the game against Derby County to fire Newcastle United into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
The 17-year-old striker latched on to a long ball upfield from goalkeeper Freddie Woodman before beating defender Ferrend Rawson and finishing past keeper Erik Behrens.
Newcastle will face the winners of tomorrow’s tie between Cardiff City and Chelsea at home in the next round.