ALAN PARDEW has asked Newcastle United supporters to show patience before passing any judgement on this season’s squad of players.
The manager has not been helped by what has been an odd stop-start campaign, which saw his side face a number of games in quick succession, at home and in Europe, before the recent international break.
Pardew will welcome back those players who were away with their respective countries over the next 48 hours, with Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini having picked up injuries and currently doubtful for Monday’s visit to Everton.
So given the rather unusual beginning to a season that promises much, the Newcastle boss hoped fans would realise that it was far too soon to draw any proper conclusions after a win, defeat and draw in the Premier League.
Pardew said: “We have done okay. We have had a decent start and I’m looking forward to the Everton game.
“The international break does not help any of the squads or the managers to build any continuity. I look at all the teams and there is the odd game where you play well, but no one has really hit top form, although you could argue that Chelsea hit the road running.
“All of us managers are just trying to get our teams nailed down.
“After ten games is when you can judge whether or not you have made a good start to the season, a bad start or just an indifferent start – and at the moment we are just getting going.”
The foundations of last season’s campaign were built on Newcastle’s superb start. But despite dropping points at home and losing to Chelsea in London, Pardew found it hard to criticise a group of players who aren’t quite at the level they were this time last year, with the exception of Hatem Ben Arfa, who has been in stunning form.
Pardew said: “I think that what with the European campaign and our first games in there with a squad who have mostly never played in Europe, we have done really well.
“In the league games, performance-wise, you would like to see us being a bit more fluid and hopefully that will come in the next few games.”
Pardew was speaking at an event that helped publicise the Pedal for Petrov cycle ride, which aims to raise £250,000 for leukaemia and lymphoma research.
The 400-mile charity ride was inspired by Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, who is in remission after being stuck down with the illness earlier this year. The ride took, among others, former England player Geoff Thomas, who is a cancer survivor himself, from Celtic Park to Villa Park.
The Newcastle manager welcomed back two of his younger stars over the last few days, which is timely considering the Europa League starts next Thursday with their visit to Maritimo.
Pardew said: “We have had some good news in that Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi are back in training, and they are two players who I thought would have featured by now in the first team, so I am looking forward to seeing them out there.
“They really have got a great year in front of them. They are two of our better players.”