DEREK Llambias has backed Alan Pardew to drive Newcastle United forward next season following a productive meeting between the duo and Magpies owner Mike Ashley.

The trio met in London on Wednesday amid speculation that Pardew's position was under threat after Newcastle finished 16th in the Premier League last season.

However, the Newcastle boss will remain in his position and Llambias is confident this summer's spending will help return the Magpies to the top half of the table.

"Everyone connected with the club was disappointed to finish where we did last season, particularly on the back of such a fantastic year prior to that," said managing director Llambias, on Newcastle's official website.

"Our discussions on Wednesday were very constructive and we pinpointed a number of factors that contributed to a season which fell below expectations.

"We are now looking forward and are entirely focused on the forthcoming campaign, with the expectation of at least a top-ten finish in the Premier League.

"There has been a great deal of speculation in recent weeks but our desire, as we announced back in September, is to bring long-term stability to this club. It's up to us all now to work closely as a team to ensure next season sees us competing in the top half of the table again.

"We would all like to thank the fans for their continued support and assure them we remain committed to providing affordable football at St. James' Park."