ALAN PARDEW has been happy to enjoy a stress free international break - something he has come to realise does not come around too often at Newcastle United.

Since taking over at St James' Park last December, Pardew has found Newcastle are never too far away from a crisis and he has been forced to endure his fair share of problems.

But rather than have to dwell or focus on how to respond to unsettled players, failed transfer bids or unsuccessful contract talks in the last fortnight, he has been able to look mainly at football matters.

As well as examining the credentials of possible transfer targets in January with his backroom team, Pardew has been able to concentrate on preparations for this Sunday's visit of Tottenham.

Spurs will be the eighth Premier League test of the season, with Newcastle still to endure defeat and Pardew is happy that side issues have not proven too much of a distraction.

"I look forward to every game and Sunday is no different. I hope the supporters are looking forward to it too," Pardew said. "It is nice that we're not limping from one crisis to another at the moment.

"There aren't contract issues hanging over us and people aren't talking about transfers, we're all settled and enjoying our football. At the moment we're looking forward to games because it is a chance for us to show what we can do."

Pardew had been slightly concerned by suggestions Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba could have returned from international duty carrying injuries.

However, both players returned to the training ground on Wednesday and were given the all clear to figure against Spurs this weekend.

Throw in the fact Jonas Guttierez, Tim Krul and Cheik Tiote are all expected to be involved on Sunday after their own international commitments and Pardew has every reason to be satisfied.

But he is expecting Tottenham, who are three points and two places below fourth placed Newcastle, to be a difficult proposition on Tyneside.

"It's going to be a tough test for us, said Pardew, who also has Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa available after returning from compassionate leave.

"Some of their offensive players are very exciting but first and foremost we must impose ourselves on them.

"If they manage to impose themselves on us, it could be a difficult afternoon because they are very good going forward, but if we manage to make them defend then we can cause them problems, as we have shown in our previous games.

"Spurs carry much greater threat than most, so we will need to maintain the high standards that we have managed to set so far this season."