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Pardew expects Goodison grilling
Published : 14 Sep 2012 13:41:00
Alan Pardew will send his Newcastle team out at Everton on Monday night warning them it will be one of their toughest tests of the season.
The Magpies last visited Goodison Park on the final day of last term still in with an outside chance of Champions League qualification.
However, a resounding 3-1 defeat by David Moyes' men, coupled with wins for north London duo Arsenal and Tottenham, saw them finish fifth, still a more than creditable return in just their second season back in the top flight.
The Toffees have picked up where they left off at the start of the new campaign, beating Manchester United 1-0 on the opening weekend, and Pardew knows the trip to Merseyside will be no less difficult this time around. He said: "It's obvious from the start of the season that Everton have picked up where they left off last year.
"They beat us comfortably at the back end of last year. It's a tough game for us, and I think it's going to be for everybody at Goodison, as Manchester United found out. We have got a lot to do there."
That victory in May cemented Everton in seventh place, nine points behind the Magpies, but crucially for their fans at least, four better off than derby rivals Liverpool. Moyes has spent the summer re-shaping his squad once again, bringing in £6million Belgium striker Kevin Mirallas from Olympiacos, securing Steven Pienaar's return to the club from Tottenham for £4.5million and drafting in free signing Stephen Naismith from Rangers.
Pardew said: "They have got considerable assets in terms of defending and attacking. They have got some nice options and it makes it very difficult to unravel that and get yourselves a victory. But that's what we will attempt to do."
Newcastle's difficulties will be compounded by an injury list which grew alarmingly during the international break. Goalkeeper Tim Krul could miss the next three games with an elbow injury suffered in training with the Holland squad, while skipper Fabricio Coloccini is also likely to miss the Everton game after damaging a hamstring while away with Argentina. Pardew had hoped to have midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote back from a long-standing calf problem, but has been forced to admit defeat, but the return of James Perch from a neck injury has proved timely with right-back Danny Simpson and potential understudy Ryan Taylor also on the casualty list.
The list of absentees has brought the club's failure to recruit defensive cover during the close-season into sharper focus, although Pardew has repeatedly insisted he is happy with his squad despite missing out on the likes of Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy and FC Twente defender Douglas. He has had to work within the confines of the club's strict transfer policy, which has proved hugely successful in recent seasons, but that means refusing to exceed their valuations of targets. Moyes too has had to try to invest his cash wisely, and Pardew believes he has done just that. He said with a smile: "He has had his fair quota of money - I know he moans about it, but I think he's had his share. But he spends it well and they have got great players. "David Moyes is a fantastic manager, and he is proving that. Stability is the key there and that's why they do so well as a club. "They have a great manager and they keep faith in him."