ALAN Pardew’s named the same team for the last four games – but there could be at least one change at St James’s Park tomorrow.
Pardew sees Newcastle United’s next three-game sequence as hugely significant.
Wigan Athletic’s visit to Tyneside is followed by a Carling Cup tie at Blackburn Rovers in midweek.
The club end the month with an away trip to Stoke City, and Pardew’s looking for his fourth-placed team to consolidate their position in the Premier League – and progress in the cup – with fixtures against the top three on the horizon.
Next month sees back to back away games against the two Manchester clubs, and Chelsea visit St James’s Park in early December.
The likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Davide Santon and Sylvain Marveaux are all pushing for starts, and Pardew’s ready to use his squad.
“I’m not going to say anything about that, because we’ve got three games, and in those games the squad will be used,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“We want to win them all, starting on Wigan. It’ll give ourselves a little bit of freedom to attack the top teams.
“We’re all looking forward to those games, and these are more important, without a shadow of a doubt.”
Meanwhile, Wigan – who have held United on their last two visits to Tyneside – are struggling near the foot of the Premier League.
And Pardew is determined that his players don’t take the fixture lightly.
Roberto Martinez’s side have won just one of their eight league games this season.
While the challenge, on paper, doesn’t compare to last Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur, which ended 2-2, Pardew is wary of the challenge they represent. And he’s called on his players – and United’s fans – to be patient.
“It’s obvious that we’re playing a team that’s not in the greatest run of form,” he said.
“The crowd will be expecting us to win, and I think that’s dangerous.
“That might unsettle us, and we need to cope with that.
“There are some tests for the team, and how we handle that. Do we play with the same intensity? Do we play with the same concentration levels? If we do, we win.”