Coloccini could be Magpies key-man in absence of boss

The Northern Echo: Leader: Fabricio Coloccini will be back in the Newcastle side. Leader: Fabricio Coloccini will be back in the Newcastle side.

ALAN PARDEW has told Newcastle United skipper Fabricio Coloccini to make up for the manager’s absence in his own special way at Craven Cottage today.

Coloccini returned to training this week after being given time to return to Argentina because of a family bereavement.

The defender’s granted leave meant that he was not at the KC Stadium to witness the headbutt from Pardew on Hull’s David Meyler, which resulted in the boss being handed a seven-match ban.

While Pardew intends to deliver a teamtalk at the team hotel this lunch-time before the players head to Fulham on the coach without him, he has instructed Coloccini to take a more prominent role inside the dressing room.

The 32-year-old defender is the most experienced player in the Newcastle squad and he will be expected to help assistant manager John Carver to motivate the players before and during the trip to the Premier League’s bottom club.

“I might have a couple of experiments in terms of dealing with the team a little bit differently. One of them is obviously is to say to Colo you need to take a bit more of an active role in the next three games,” said Pardew.

“Colo can express his opinion at half-time, my opinion won't be there. The players can offer up John some assistance and make life a little bit easier for him, which I think, when you all buy into that, that can work.”

As the club’s captain, Coloccini would normally have his own role to play in getting the team spirit right anyway. The difference this time, though, is that he will need to do more on the motivational side.

And with Pardew also missing from the stadium for the two games after the trip to Fulham, the former Deportivo La Coruna and AC Milan defender will have to assist Carver once more in the dates with Crystal Palace and Everton at St James’ Park.

“Colo will find his own way of doing things in there for me,” said Pardew. “He is not the type of person to do some Churchillian speech. That is not his way. But he will find a way to offer John some assistance, I know he will.”

Carver’s first time in charge of the team since he was caretaker in 2004 – a 3-0 win over Blackburn – will have to be done without striker Loic Remy and full-back Mathieu Debuchy.

Both players are sidelined through injury for the next few weeks and that could help Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa retain his place in the side. Coloccini’s return is likely to have meant Yanga-Mbiwa dropping to the bench.

Whatever team is selected will have been named by Pardew, before the coach has left the team hotel in London. Then it will be over to Carver, who has been told not to expect any communication through the game from the boss.

"John's naturally vocal in the changing room so that is not going to change,” said Pardew. “I think the change to John will be that we can't guarantee what their team will be.

“So at 2 o'clock that team will come in and John's going to have a couple of tactical calls on their team. We can predict their team, we're usually 99 per cent right, but there's always one or two players who might come and surprise you. John will have to make that decision."

And Carver, who has never been afraid to voice his views on the touchline in the past, will also be under instructions to be on his best behaviour in the absence of Pardew.

“I think all my team do,” said the Newcastle manager, who is hoping the FA do not try to get the ban extended by appealing the independent regulatory commission’s decision to issue a seven-game punishment.

“Some of the reporting about myself and my team was over the top I thought but having said that we can't say we have been totally innocent, even before this incident, so we all need to address our behaviour.”

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