Pardew keen to emulate Sir Bobby
2:12pm Thursday 17th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has vowed to live up to Sir Bobby Robson's legacy as he attempts to drag the club out of an alarming slump.
The 52-year-old has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks amid a run of four successive Barclays Premier League defeats - the Magpies have now lost eight of their last 11 games.
That has seen any hope of a top-six finish disappear, and the top-half place set as a target by owner Mike Ashley before the campaign started is no longer the foregone conclusion it once seemed.
However, Pardew is determined to provide a much-improved finish to the season before embarking upon a rebuilding programme he hopes will win over his detractors.
He said: "The most important thing for us is the history is heavy on us. What Bobby Robson did here and that great side, we have got to live up to those expectations.
"The financial goalposts have moved a little bit, probably, against us, but that doesn't mean to say we can't compete, and that's what I'm determined to do.
"We have got ourselves into a position, hopefully, in the summer to make some investment that can take this club forward and be stronger."
Asked if supporters should be excited by the prospect of a significant recruitment drive, Pardew added: "I hope so because the targets we have buoy me."
Pardew, who completes his touchline ban with Swansea's visit to St James' Park on Saturday, has been hamstrung by injuries in recent weeks, most notably the calf problem which has sidelined leading scorer Loic Remy for the last six games.
His absence has simply exacerbated the dearth of threat posed by Newcastle since Yohan Cabaye's January departure for Paris St Germain, and it is no coincidence that they have scored one solitary goal without him.
It is a failing of which Pardew is acutely aware, and he knows so much responsibility cannot be invested in just two men in the future.
He said: "The stats have really endorsed what they have been to us, but it shouldn't be like that.
"We should be able to spread that across the board a little bit more, and that is definitely a criticism we have to accept.
"I am hoping that the other strikers in the group get some goals and the other creative players in the team create some goals.
"If we can even it out a little bit more, it would make my job a little bit easier."
Pardew's job will be significantly easier this weekend if Remy and full-back Mathieu Debuchy, who has missed the same number of games with a groin injury, are available after returning to training, although that is by no means certain.
The manager said: "It will be a big boost for us in terms of their experience at this level and their quality. It's nice to see them back.
"With the World Cup not far around the corner, it's important that they get the time in now."
However, midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa remains a doubt after suffering a dead leg in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
The France international has been a peripheral figure for much of the season, to the disapproval of many fans, although he has rarely produced when given his chance.
He was reportedly involved in a frank exchange of views with Pardew after the 4-0 home defeat by Manchester United on April 5, although the older man was relaxed when asked about the incident.
He said: "There are certain times when you talk to players and you want more and players want more of you as the manager, so those discussions go on on a daily basis with all the players, not just Hatem."