ALAN Pardew insists he has every faith in stand-in goalkeeper Rob Elliot, despite his lack of match time since making a summer switch from Charlton.
Tim Krul missed training yesterday after suffering a back spasm and is a slight doubt for the visit of Stoke tomorrow.
The Holland goalkeeper is expected to play but if he suffers another setback Pardew says he will have no hesitations about calling on Elliot to deputise against the Potters. Thus far Elliot has played just once for United – in the 4-3 defeat of Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup in September of last year.
But Pardew insists that he would be ready for action if Krul wasn’t available.
The United manager said: “Tim had a little spasm in his back, we didn’t see a problem with that.
“It should go away. If not, Robbie Elliot will play and Robbie’s been absolutely brilliant in the background here.
“In some ways I wouldn’t be against him playing so if I think Tim is in any doubt, he won’t play.”
Pardew’s faith in Elliot mirrors his belief in James Perch, who stepped in from the cold to deliver a string of excellent performances after Argentinian centre-back Fabricio Coloccini suffered a hamstring problem.
The United boss has made a big play of keeping his fringe men on board and that has paid dividends this season. He will hope his approach to his reserve goalkeeper will reap similar rewards if Krul is missing tomorrow.
Pardew insists the team are “calm” ahead of another big game.
“We’re calm and we’ve got momentum. There’s a good feeling at the training ground and that makes us dangerous, I think,” he said.