ALAN Pardew has urged his Newcastle United players to “seize” a unique opportunity to return to Europe – as he prepares to welcome skipper Fabricio Coloccini back into contention for Bolton.
Newcastle will move into fifth and shave the gap to the Champions League places to just two points if they defeat Good Friday opponents Swansea City, a testament to the fine work of Pardew and his players.
Rather than resting on their laurels and being satisfied with achieving over the club’s pre-season expectations, though, Pardew wants to see his players grasp the opportunity they have given themselves.
The Newcastle boss reckons his side are one season ahead of where they expected to be in terms of their targets, but that is no excuse to be satisfied with what they have done already.
United have a run of winnable games after the Swansea trip, with struggling Bolton Wanderes to visit on Monday.
They will be missing injured Danny Guthrie tomorrow and Haris Vuckic, who was being considered as a replacement.
The Slovenia international will also miss the South Wales trip with a knee injury which will take weeks rather than days to recover from. James Tavernier has been recalled from MK Dons.
But there is good news on Coloccini’s fitness, with the defender looking in good shape to return for the Easter St James’ Park showdown with the Trotters.
“I spoke to Fabricio on Wednesday morning and he’s going to give himself a good chance for Bolton, and try and concentrate on being fit for that,” Pardew confirmed.
“He ain’t going to be far away so if he doesn’t play it’s probably going to be me deciding it’s too risky rather than him. But knowing him, he’ll want to play.”