Pair Progressing

Alan Pardew is looking forward to the impending return to action of Rufus Brevett and Steve Lomas.

The pair are progressing nicely and Alan Pardew says:

"We have got Rufus coming back soon hopefully, and Lomy, who I think is going to be particularly important to us because we need some leadership and character which he has got in abundance.

"We really need someone to take his role in the team at the moment, pull us all together, and make sure we get that first win.

"It is hard to say with Rufus and Lomy when they will be back but they are both running around the training ground starting to kick balls and that is obviously a bonus.

"I am not going to put any pressure on them by giving them a deadline because I am not a professional in that field; I will wait and when the professionals tell me they are ready we will see where they are in the football realm."

Alan is hoping for a positive reaction from Don Hutchison, who made way for the debut of Marlon Harewood on Tuesday, and he explains:

"He was disappointed that he was on the bench; he has played well but ultimately we haven't won and I need to win a game.

"There is competition now and Hutch is the first victim of me being there in terms of him being left out.

"Up front, big Deano, Jermain, Connolly and Marlon have to do it right and show that they are playing for the team, working hard for the team, because there are players who can take their place.

"In the midfield area, hopefully with the return of Matthew Etherington soon, we will have good competition there.

"The back four, who have been our strength all year, I just feel are having a shaky run at the moment and they are going to snap out of that - and when they do we are going to start looking like a proper team.

"The loss of Matthew Kilgallon was a blow but one of the reasons I brought Hayden in is because he can play at centre half without a problem."