Pardew focused on strong finish

Newcastle boss keen to keep defying expectations

Alan Pardew: Focused on securing a strong finish with Newcastle

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Manager Alan Pardew is aware Newcastle United are already a point better off than their haul for the whole of last season but insists they are focused on the run-in.

The boss says his side are feeling confident heading into Sunday's trip to West Brom after seeing off Norwich 1-0 last weekend thanks to Papiss Cisse's winner.

The Magpies currently sit sixth in the Premier League after defying expectations this season, with a fifth-placed finish still well within their reach after rivals Chelsea and Liverpool both suffered defeats on Wednesday night.

Run-in

With nine games remaining until the end of the campaign, Pardew hopes his surprise high-fliers can enjoy a solid run-in.

"I noticed that stat and that we are one point better off, but the boys are staying focused," he told the Shields Gazette.

"Last week's refocus has set us on a new direction. At the start of the season, we'd have taken a place in the top 10.

"Yet, this is a new team, and we have to see where we can finish in the last nine games."

Newcastle's victory over Norwich halted a run of four games without a win and Pardew feels the success has provided a timely lift of spirits in the Toon camp ahead of their visit to The Hawthorns.

"The win was important for us, but the clean sheet was perhaps more important," he added.

"We're in a good state, and we got a lift from it. We're vibrant going into the game and that bodes very well for Sunday.

"It's a tough game, and everybody was in a good frame of mind for it in training yesterday.

"We'll be out there to stump West Brom's growth on Sunday."

England

West Brom have impressed under Hodgson this season and Pardew is unsurprised to see the Baggies boss being linked with the vacant England job.

"Roy's a good candidate for the England boss, for me," he added.

"I know that (Tottenham boss) Harry Redknapp's probably the media favourite, but Roy would be a great choice. He's put together a strong side."