ALAN PARDEW insists his relationship with Newcastle United chief scout Graham Carr remains strong, although the Magpies manager admits the club has begun to turn its attention away from the French market.

Carr has been a key figure in the Newcastle hierarchy in recent years, spearheading the signing of the likes of Yohan Cayabe, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheik Tiote, but his position became less secure when Joe Kinnear arrived as director of football, with former managing director Derek Llambias stepping down.

Carr and Llambias had worked closely together to develop a transfer blueprint that prioritised the purchase of young, relatively unproven players from the continent, but Kinnear’s appointment represented a marked shift in the thinking of owner Mike Ashley.

Kinnear has been charged with the task of sourcing more experienced players from England, hence the arrival of Loic Remy on loan from QPR and the ongoing interest in Darren Bent, but Pardew denies the shift in thinking has put him on a collision course with Carr.

“There’s never been a problem with me and Graham.

Never,” said Pardew, who will take his Newcastle side to Manchester City next Monday for the opening game of their Premier League season. “Graham’s brought some fantastic players to this football club and that will never be taken away from him. He can take that on in his career – either here or whether he decides to go somewhere else.

“But what is important is that we keep a very, very close eye on English-based players and Joe, Graham and myself are very aware that although the French market has been massively successful for us, we can’t take our eye off that.

“We’re in the fabric of the scouting network there. We’re as good as Lyon, Paris Saint Germain, St Etienne – our network is as good as theirs and because we’ve got Premier League finance and French players have been successful here, their agents want to bring their players here and the players want to come.

“We have a massive advantage there, but we can’t constantly take that advantage and take our eye off other parts of the world, including the English market, because we’re getting very close to the UEFA limit (on foreign players).

We’ve lost Perchy (James Perch), we almost lost Dan Gosling, so it’s something we do need to focus on.

“Joe is very much aware that he needs to co-ordinate that and we need to make our search bigger. Graham can’t be everywhere – he can’t be all over England, all over Holland and France. That’s impossible.

Our scouts can be and then Graham comes in near the end and I come in after that.”

Pardew’s relationship with Kinnear remains an uneasy truce, although the pair proved they could work together when they teamed up to help secure Remy’s arrival.

Pardew formed a close alliance with Llambias, and was disappointed to see him leave in a hurried manner. Nevertheless, he insists the newlook set-up can work provided everyone involved sticks to the parameters of their role.

“It was difficult for me because I was close with Derek,”

he said. “I was sad that he went and the circumstances that he went. There was always going to be a replacement, and with Joe we’ve got someone with a football background which I hope to utilise in a positive way.

“His job is to co-ordinate myself and Graham’s targets and get them over the line.

Hopefully he can prise out of Mike an ambition to take us as far forward as we can go.

“I’ve been relaxed about if from the moment it was announced.

I was almost like ‘Okay, I’ll keep an open mind’.

As a coach you have to do that. If I ask my players to do that, I certainly have to. It’s about new ideas and whatever – it was Mike’s decision to do that and obviously I abide with that.”