ALAN PARDEW has urged Newcastle United supporters to prove Paul Lambert wrong after the Aston Villa boss questioned the current atmosphere at St James’ Park.
The Magpies manager also insisted he would “never be jealous” of Sunderland despite the Black Cats recent success in both domestic cup competitions even though his team are struggling to end a miserable run of form.
The Villans will look to become the sixth team in a row to leave St James’ Park victorious and the former Norwich City manager believes his side can take advantage of an “edgy” crowd on Tyneside after a run of four consecutive home defeats in the Premier League.
Lambert said: “We are going to go there on the front foot, because if we do then their crowd might become edgy.”
The Villa manager’s comments didn’t go unnoticed by his opposite number, though, but despite being under pressure from supporters in recent weeks, Pardew insists Lambert has underestimated how powerful they can be.
“I am a little surprised he has said that,” said Pardew. “He might have under-estimated our fans. He might regret saying that after the game.
“I am surprised at that. You are underestimating our fan base because regardless of how they feel about me or any individual player or the owner or anything else, they come for the team and they will come for the team on Sunday “All we have to do is nudge that performance the right way and the place will be roaring. I know that. I have been here before when it has done that after a tricky run. I am surprised he (Lambert) has led on that and I hope our fans prove him wrong.”
Newcastle’s last appearance on home soil ended in a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham and Pardew admits getting off to a positive start tomorrow will be the key to ending a dreadful dip in form.
He said: “The first half is important for us. That we come off at half time with a positive feeling. In this particular game after Spurs, yes, very much.
“We had similar last year after Sunderland, a bit of a hangover in next home game. We have done that again, and I do think there is a little bit of a correlation in that.”
Pardew is boosted by the return of Loic Remy after the striker completed a three-match ban following his red card at Norwich.
There is also positive news on Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote, although the Magpies boss revealed both players will have to overcome late fitness tests ahead of the game.
Newcastle have gone 360 minutes without scoring in Remy’s absence, and Pardew hopes the Frenchman can return firing.
The 27-year-old was told he would face no further action following his arrest over rape claims last May, accusations he always strongly denied, and Pardew revealed the striker has been in a much better place since being cleared.
“Loic has had the pressure of the court case removed from him,” the Magpies boss said. “He has done remarkably well in the first part of the season to have that hanging in the background on him and his family.
“To have that removed, I see a real lease of life in him and I think just him alone, forget about anyone else, it has been a big lift to everyone this week. He has been really sharp and bright.
“I think there was a relief (for him). And that is reflected in his personality in training, particularly last week. Sometimes missing three games too, he is desperate to get back which he is. He is a very important player for us in the next 12 games. He did terrific with all that hanging over him.”
Whether Coloccini and Tiote return alongside Remy remains to be seen, but Pardew hopes even their presence on the training ground will have a positive effect going into tomorrow’s game.
He said: “Going into any game, particularly against the might of Chelsea and Spurs and not having Colo, Cheik, Remy and of course we lost Yohan as well.
“That is a huge blow for this football club in terms of those players not being available. This week, if they do not all make it, at least they are around it and certainly when we go to Hull, I would expect them all to be back. Colo and Tiote might not make this one.”