Alan: It's A Big One

Alan Pardew admits that a huge amount rides on the trip to Sheffield United at the weekend.

"They are going well and Neil Warnock has had a good team for three or four years," he says.

"Really, the pressure is on them to do it this year as it is with us - so we are both under pressure to get a result.

"We have done well away from home and there is no reason why we shouldn't go up there and win.

"That is certainly how we are going to approach it.

"We are all disappointed about the last result and our recent home performances - we want to put it right and we are doing everything we can to do that."

Steve Bywater is favourite to get the nod following the sale of David James, although Rami Shaaban is also available, having completed a loan move from Arsenal.

Says alan of Steve:

"It is a great opportunity for him; we are all hoping he pulls it off and stays there for a while because he is such a lovely lad and character around the place.

"It is these performances now that will determine whether he keeps the jersey."

regarding the sale of James, he adds:

"It is a complicated deal and it will hopefully free up some cash to do some other work apart from getting another goalie, which obviously we need.

"We have to prioritise and make sure we are covering all the bases here."

SQUAD: Bywater, Forde, Shaaban, Deane, Carrick, Pearce, Dailly, Connolly, McMahon, Cohen, Harewood, Mullins, Etherington, Quinn, Mellor, Ferdinand, Stockdale, Horlock.