ALAN Pardew admits he wishes Geordie striker Danny Graham was wearing a Newcastle United jersey tomorrow.
The 26-year-old, a boyhood United fan, has been a revelation for Swansea City since his move from Watford last summer.
Graham has netted 10 Premier League goals for the Liberty Stadium club.
Pardew was tipped off about the Gateshead-born player’s potential by then-Watford manager Malky Mackay.
Newcastle, however, ruled out a move for Graham, who started his senior career in the Northern League with Chester-le-Street Town before turning professional with Middlesbrough.
“I wouldn’t say he got away,” Pardew told the Gazette. “But I knew about him because Malky had tipped me off.
“We just didn’t have enough on him. We couldn’t do enough work in terms of whether he was going to fit the bill for us.
“He’s had a marvellous season – he’s done really well. We will have to be on our guard against him, because he’s their out-and-out finisher.
“All that clever stuff they do when they keep the ball all ends with him scoring. So if you stop him scoring, it makes it difficult for them to score.”
Pardew didn’t turn professional with Crystal Palace until he was in his mid-20s, having spent the early part of his career in non-league football.
And he respects Graham, pictured, for the hard work he’s put in on his way to the top.
“He’s come from a similar route as me from non-league football,” said Pardew. “If you’ve done that, you appreciate this level.
“Who knows? There might be a day when he comes back to the North East.”
Meanwhile, United have again been linked with a move for Barnsley midfielder Jacob Butterfield.
The 21-year-old, sidelined after knee surgery, has refused to sign a new deal at Oakwell, with his contract expiring in the summer.