Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reinforcements Are Still Needed; ANALYSIS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Reinforcements Are Still Needed; ANALYSIS

Article excerpt

HOW significant could this win be for Newcastle United? No, not in terms of picking up three valuable points and continuing the great start to the season for Alan Pardew and his backroom team.

More so in terms of whether Pardew will get the backing he still so clearly needs from his board in the dying stages of the transfer window - because let's face it regardless of the impressive win over Fulham, this squad still needs reinforcements.

Make no mistake, Newcastle did everything that was asked of them against Martin Jol's side in a slowburner of a game - but there remains concern in the air on Tyneside.

The biggest fear of all is that the powers that be at St James' Park misjudge the superb start to the season and feel that there is no need to invest.

Certainly, three wins and a draw in league and cup can be deemed positive, but it could also be seen as papering over the cracks of a squad that has worked tremendously hard in the last few weeks.

Pardew spoke of those concerns in the aftermath of the 2-1 win over Fulham but knows that action - not words - can convince Newcastle fans his team are going places.

Don't forget the game ended at St James' Park with fans baying for the final whistle against a team that only finished last season three points ahead of them, but in a troublesome summer Geordie punters were grateful for small mercies as the referee finally blew. The prospect of surrendering a lead in such a winnable home fixture was simply frightening, especially as memories of the capitulation against West Brom on the final day of last season returned near the end after Clint Dempsey pulled a goal back.

There has been a fear factor on Tyneside this summer, with many supporters feeling the current squad lacks the depth required to make it through what could be a long, hard winter. The concerns have been echoed by Pardew himself and senior players.

Those key areas such as left-back, striker - and now centre-back due to Mike Williamson's injury - mean that one more injury could leave a gaping hole in the centre of defence.

Pardew will have mixed feelings as he reflects on how his season has started.

This has been a positive start to the campaign and for Pardew, who has now lost only eight of his 26 matches in charge since taking over last December. However, this is merely a platform to build from and Pardew - who has now won three games in a row for the first time as manager - needs a bigger workforce if they are to continue creating a solid structure.

And let's not forget to give credit where it's due for those who helped churn out three important points against the Cottagers.

Tim Krul picked up where he left off against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup, with a sturdy display featuring a series of fine stops.

Don't underestimate Krul's contributions in this one. …

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