Pardew set for crunch Toon talks

Pardew set for crunch Toon talks

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was due to sit down with owner Mike Ashley today to discuss the way forward.

Press Association Sport understands the pair, along with managing director Derek Llambias, were due to hold talks to assess what went wrong in the recently completed season and to plot a route back to the upper reaches of the Barclays Premier League table.

Pardew’s future has been the topic of intense speculation in recent weeks with the club engaged in a tooth and nail fight for top-flight survival after a desperately disappointing domestic campaign.

However, the 51-year-old, who signed an eight-year contract in September last year, has been bullish in the wake of the 2-1 victory at QPR, which ended their fears, and was certainly looking to the future as he contemplated his summer rebuilding programme at the weekend.

Pardew said: “The most important thing is that we react and respond to this season as a club, and I hope we can do that and then have a rest because trust me, it has been tough on a number of levels.

“But I have learned a lot and I will be better for it.”

There is little doubt that a side which finished the previous campaign in fifth place drastically under-achieved last season with only an extended Europa League campaign bringing any relief.

But a narrow quarter-final defeat by eventual finalists Benfica sparked an alarming slump which saw the Magpies, unforgivably in the eyes of their fans, lose 3-0 at home to arch-rivals Sunderland and then concede six without reply to Liverpool at St James’ Park.

Ultimately, salvation was to lie away from Tyneside with four points from trips to West Ham and relegated QPR sealing their fate as Pardew’s critics grew in number and volume.

However, unless the situation alters significantly over the coming days, it appears he will get the chance to repair the damage inflicted during an attritional campaign with the board accepting that the decision not to invest heavily last summer was a major factor in what followed.

Pardew has already indicated that he will be looking to strengthen his squad in terms of both quality and numbers, but also experience with the club’s youngsters having largely failed to step up to the plate when required.

The success or otherwise of that mission could largely depend on what is said today and to what extent Ashley is prepared to continue to back his manager.

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