Pardew chasing Euro dream

Newcastle boss is confident his side will be playing in Europe next season

Alan Pardew: Has won the fans over since taking over from Chris Hughton in December last year

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Alan Pardew is hoping for an early Christmas present of three points and an end to Newcastle's miserable run of late.

His side host West Brom in their next match and are desperate to end a five-game winless run in the league that is in danger of undoing their great start to the season.

The Magpies were flying high in second place a few weeks ago after going 11 games unbeaten.

And while Pardew admits staying in the Champions League spots may be unrealistic over a season a place in the Europa League is not beyond them despite their recent slump.

Pardew said: "It's been a fantastic year, more than I could've hoped for in terms of where we are.

"You know people will look at our recent run but they don't see the bigger picture.

"We're in a great position in the league and we've still got some good games coming up. It's all there for us.

"When you're lying second in the league with the budget we've got, to try to stay there is totally unrealistic, but that doesn't mean we can't keep trying to aim for those heights.

"We want to keep up there in sixth or seventh. We've had some bad fortune with injuries but when we get our best team out, we are competitive."

Gabriel Obertan is likely to keep his place in the side and Hatem Ben Arfa to remain on the bench while Yohan Cabaye is banned after picking up five bookings.

Obertan has been struggling to regain the form he showed earlier in the season and has been hampered by injury.

But Pardew is confident the fans will soon see the former Manchester United winger back to his best.

He added: "He hasn't been as good as he was before he picked up an injury. But he was good in the first half against Swansea on Saturday and created a few dangerous moments for us.

"Because he is so quick the crowd think he can just beat the full-back on the outside all the time but he can't do that, as he'd be too one-dimensional.

"The next step for him is to actually look like he's going to score but he's only 22 and is still learning.

"Our fans need to be patient, as do I, because we all know what he can do."