The dust has just about settled after a horrendous night in London which saw Newcastle United dumped out of the Capital One Cup having lost 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and now attentions have turned to the small matter of the Tyne-Wear Derby on Sunday lunchtime.
Given the manner of the defeat on Wednesday, the importance of getting a result this time round has escalated higher than it had been prior to the embarrassment down Spurs. Having lost the last three derbies in a row, Alan Pardew is under immense pressure to not become the first manager ever to lose four consecutive games versus Sunderland.
Rewriting history is not an option for Pardew; whilst he will comfortably remain in charge of NUFC whatever happens in the derby he would more than likely be back to where he was at the start of the season with the majority of fans calling for his head. This would be completely understandable if it did rear its head again considering how poor 2014 has been on the whole and the previous seasons relegation battle.
I think Pardew would take a draw now if you offered him one. It would stop the rot after the last three inept performances against Sunderland but, in my opinion, that would not be enough. Having been humiliated, the last two home games especially, nothing but a win will appease many Newcastle United fans.
Pardew’s excuse for defeat is already written in the shape of Jak Alnwick who must be sapped of any sort of confidence having conceded eight goals in the last two matches. He has made costly errors but the defence have not really helped. Looking at the situation, it might be that Alnwick may never be properly ready to be a top flight goalkeeper. The board, however, must take their share of the blame having not written a recall clause into Karl Darlow’s contract when he was loaned back out to Nottingham Forest. It can also be suggested that the club itself have failed to prepare Alnwick suitably to step in like he has had to with his only senior experience being in the Conference.
Pride needs to be restored and competing on the pitch is a minimum requirement on Sunday afternoon. Will United rise to the occasion or let us down in typical NUFC style?
Howay the Lads.