Alan On J Return

Alan Pardew is looking forward to the return of Jermain Defoe on Saturday - and says he is raring to go after a five match ban.

"My position is clear; his performances for me, his effort, and his work rate, have been spot-on," he says.

"I was very disappointed by his sending off, of course, because we missed him for five games which was very costly for us as we have only won one in that time - and now it is time for him to repay us.

"I look at him and I know he wants to play; there are all sorts of people in his ear and there is all sorts of speculation, and that is hard for a player of his age.

"All I can say is what I have found - and that is a good pro trying to do his stuff.

"As far as I am concerned, there is no problem between Jermain and me, or for that matter between Jermain and the club."

Alan is hugely disappointed by the defeat against Stoke, who kept only their second clean sheet in 19 games and ended run of eight away defeats on the trot on Tuesday night, and he says:

"There were too many inconsistencies and I want to see some action - players have to show they want to stay and play for this club."

"We started poorly though we had a huge opportunity to go up the league in front of a good crowd that tied to spur us on and we were not at the races.

"We had too many good players put in sub-par performances and that is not good enough for this club. "I need to get this club up and if the players don't look right over the next two or three games I am going to have to make changes - and I have told them that.

"They defended deep, I tried to play with wing backs to counter our lack of width with Matthew Etherington out but they struggled with that.

"We didn't start well and that is a problem at any level and it is no mystery that Michael Carrick didn't have a great game with no one encouraging him.

"I am fed up with talking now I want to see some action - this team are on a bit of a knife edge at the moment and the players have to show me that they want to stay and play for this club.

"The inconsistencies shown around the pitch were not good enough; I need to put a player on the pitch knowing I am going to get a seven and hoping to get a nine."