Lovenkrands: There's no need for new strikers
ALAN Pardew might have been promised a hefty sum to spend on a striker this summer, but Peter Lovenkrands claims Newcastle's current crop of forwards are doing all they can to reduce the need for major investment. With Andy Carroll's £35m fee available for squad strengthening, Pardew has made a number of trips to continental Europe in the last month to watch a range of attacking targets. However, with Saturday's 4-1 win over Wolves having gone a long way towards securing Newcastle's Premier League status, Lovenkrands feels the club's current strike force has done more than enough to merit another season in the top-flight. The Dane scored his fifth goal of the campaign at the weekend, with team-mate Shola Ameobi taking his seasonal total to eight. The injured Leon Best has scored five goals since the turn of the year, and while the trio might not form the most high-profile forward line in the Premier League, it is hard to argue against their effectiveness in the wake of Carroll's departure. "I don't know if we have to keep reminding the manager, I think he knows what we stand for now," said Lovenkrands. "People will always look and say that we are low on strikers and that the manger will be looking to bring in new strikers during the summer, that is inevitable. "But we just have to concentrate on our own game. It's up to the manager who he wants to keep, if what we do is not good enough then that's down to him. "The boys have taken over on the scoring front well since Andy left. Leon was fantastic before he got injured, Shola will always score goals and he has been, while I have been chipping in too. "It's been crucial, but for me, what has been even more important, regardless of who has scored the goals, has been the service we have been getting from Joey (Barton) and Jonas (Gutierrez)." That service was certainly apparent at the weekend, as Newcastle scored four goals in a home game for the fifth time this season. The Magpies have scored four against Wolves and Arsenal, five against West Ham and Sunderland, and six against Aston Villa, and their tally of 36 home goals is bettered only by Manchester United. With that in mind, therefore, it seems incredulous that Newcastle have recorded just five Premier League home wins, with only Blackpool and Wigan having a worse success rate on their own ground. "It's been such a weird season for us because it looks on the face of it that we have had a good season, and in many respects we have," said Lovenkrands. "But the pressure has been on a bit at home because last season we were so dominant. This time around, we have been good away from home instead. "We needed to be back to winning ways at home, because becoming more consistent is key to this division. That is what we have to look to do now." Before they return to St James' to face Manchester United, Newcastle must travel to Villa Park, the scene of their traumatic relegation two seasons ago, on Sunday afternoon. The Magpies will start with a five-point advantage over struggling Aston Villa, and with 18th-placed West Ham a further two points behind, Jonas Gutierrez feels one more win will be sufficient to guarantee Newcastle's top-flight status. "We need a few more points and the quicker we can get them, the better," said the Argentinian, who scored his first goal for five months against Wolves. "I think three points will be enough to give us another year in the Premier League, and then we will see where we are and where we can go. "But the most important thing now is to get to 42 points, which should keep us in the division." Meanwhile, Peter Beardsley's reserves side play their penultimate game of the season this afternoon when they take on West Brom in a behind-closed-doors game at the Baggies' Great Barr training ground. * Newcastle will play Columbus Crew in the second game of their pre-season tour of the United States. The Magpies will take on the MLS side at Crew Stadium on Tuesday, July 26 (ko 7.30pm). They have already arranged to face Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park on July 20.
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