Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Workaholic Pardew Is Looking for Hard Graft

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Workaholic Pardew Is Looking for Hard Graft

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NEWCASTLE United's players have been denied a weekend off as manager Alan Pardew tries to right one of the anomalies of their season.

Tomorrow is the start of the Magpies' fourth blank weekend of the campaign. They have failed to win each of the games on their return.

With the momentum of a fivematch winning sequence - easily their best of the campaign - behind them, Newcastle cannot afford to squander it in an incredibly tight race for Europe. In an attempt to buck the trend, Pardew has changed their routine. The players are off today, but will be in for full training tomorrow.

"We looked at this period and decided we were going to do things a bit differently to how they've been done in the past," he revealed.

"We've given the players some days off after the Bolton game and then we'll be bringing them back in to do some work over the weekend.

"We think that might work better for us because after previous two-week breaks, we haven't come back with a win. We're trying to do it differently to make sure it doesn't happen that way again." Newcastle are not playing this weekend because their scheduled opponents, Chelsea, are playing in Sunday's FA Cup semifinal.

It means the Stamford Bridge meeting between the rivals for a European spot has been delayed until May 2. The pair are engaged in a three-way fight with Tottenham Hotspur. One will play in the Champions League qualifiers, one in the Europa League and unless Everton knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup tomorrow, the other may get nothing.

Newcastle and Spurs are level on 59 points, with Chelsea - who have further chances to qualify for Europe via the European and FA Cups - two further back. The Magpies are the form side of the three.

Notable by his absence from the scoresheet during Newcastle's scintillating run has been top-scorer Demba Ba (pictured left). Pardew has no concerns about 16-goal Ba, who has largely played wide in recent games. …

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