Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Return of Ashley Is Good Sign - Pardew; Ashley Return a Positive for Pardew

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Return of Ashley Is Good Sign - Pardew; Ashley Return a Positive for Pardew

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Chief sportswriter mark.douglas@ncjmedia.co.uk

ALAN Pardew feels that Mike Ashley's public return to St James' Park "bodes well" for the club's impending summer rebuild.

As revealed in The Journal, Ashley has given the green light for the club to undertake a major recruitment drive in the close season after a year of frustration and disappointment in the transfer market.

That decision has coincided with Ashley returning to the ground for the first time since September. He watched Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Crystal Palace and Pardew con-firmed that he will be present once again tonight as Newcastle take on an Everton team gunning for the Europa League.

It is an intriguing development, especially as the manager appeared to be under some pressure in February. That has dissipated, however, with Ashley satisfied that the Newcastle boss has fulfiled his pre-season objective of a top-10 finish. Indeed, Pardew feels that the owner has signalled his support for him by being present at the three Newcastle games which he has been banned from the touchline for. "He will be at the game and that means he has been to the three that I have missed so obviously for me it has been great that he has shown that support," admitted Pardew.

"It is important that in my absence he did that and I thought it was great that he did do that.

"I don't want to say what was said in private discussions but it is the fact he has been to the three games that I have missed. In terms of the club, that bodes well because he knows in the summer, we have a bit of work to do."

Pardew confirmed that he will be pressing the club to look at Romelu Lukaku again this summer. The Belgium striker is on loan at Goodison Park from Chelsea, and Pardew had wanted Newcastle to make a move last summer.

The United boss said: "I think he is a player a lot of clubs will be looking at in the summer. …

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