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Alan Pardew says Newcastle United must recruit to avoid relegation

Alan Pardew has warned Mike Ashley that unless Newcastle United reinforce their squad with high-calibre players this month, his team is in real danger of relegation.

Under Ashley's ownership, the club has been placed on a sound financial footing, but Pardew believes the time to spend has now arrived.

"We definitely need a player or two in this window to make sure of our Premier League status," said Newcastle's manager, whose struggling side are at home to Reading on Saturday.

"We're going to need to invest in our team. We've got to be conscious of where we are in the division; we're in a precarious position, we've lost Demba Ba to Chelsea and we need a replacement striker.

"There are better teams than the one I manage who have gone down. It's a six‑pointer against Reading, we can't hide from that. If we don't match their fight, we don't win. I think we shouldn't be lost to the fact that we could be relegated."

Pardew had hoped that Loïc Rémy would be in the Newcastle team facing his old club on Saturday but, instead the former Marseille forward elected to join QPR at the 11th hour.

"It was a little strange," he said. "We'd put a lot of work in. We made Marseille an offer that was accepted and made a fantastic offer to the player. He didn't arrive, but we're not going to pay silly money to anybody."

Newcastle's manager has, however, cast covetous eyes at the depth of Harry Redknapp's squad. While Pardew's best team remains strong, an injury crisis has revealed their lack of capable understudies. "I could argue that QPR's squad is, on paper, stronger than ours," he said. "I'm not sure about their starting XI, but we've not had our best starting XI out all season and our squad is too weak."

Pardew has not been helped by the difficulties in Fabricio Coloccini's personal life, which have left Newcastle's captain looking to return to Argentina this month. "We're going to sit down next week and hopefully iron out the issues and come to a conclusion where Colo stays, that's what I hope for," said Pardew.

"There's obviously a problem in his life and the best way to deal with that sometimes is to be on a football pitch and playing your best football. The football pitch is a natural sanctuary.

"Players play through unbelievable situations. I can think of a player at Southampton who got a man of the match award whose cousin had died two days previously in a stabbing. I had a player at West Ham who had gambling problems and another with big gambling and drinking troubles, but both found sanctuary on the pitch and played well."

Pardew hopes that French players looking for a move to the Premier League will see Newcastle as England's most hospitable habitat and look forward to joining a first-team squad containing a powerful Gallic element in the form of, among several other cross-channel imports, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Mathieu Debuchy.

"If I were a French player, this would be my first port of call," said Pardew. "Especially with the French players we've already got here. Everything we do is translated into French. It makes life easier. We love French players."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Louise Taylor, for The Guardian on Thursday 17th January 2013 22.00 Europe/London

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