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Newcastle have won their last four Premier League games, and travel to South Wales as they attempt to make five, with Michael Laudrup's Swansea City standing in their way. Before their recent run of form, the Magpies were enduring an inconsistent start to the season, but manager Alan Pardew has turned to a St. James' Park legend for inspiration to get him through the tough times.
"You have to prove yourself as a manager at any club, but particularly at a big club, that you can handle the tough times. I did that at West Ham and got a lot of respect from West Ham fans, more for that, probably, than some of the great victories and getting to the cup final and the promotion we got,' Pardew said.
"Maybe it will be the same here. Maybe in the future, people will look back on that year and say, 'Well, he still handled it with a bit of dignity and respect', which I tried to do. Bobby Robson brought that to this job and for me, that's the beacon for me to make sure I uphold those traditions."
Pardew is currently enjoying life in the North East, but his job may be made more difficult by the possible departure of defender – and captain – Fabricio Coloccini. The Argentine defender wanted to leave the club last year for personal reasons, and it seems they have reared their head again as Coloccini's wife revealed on Twitter that she and their two children have returned to South America.
Coloccini tried to force a move to San Lorenzo last season, only to see Pardew and chairman Mike Ashley block any move. With partner Natalia now reportedly back in Argentina, it seems difficult for Coloccini to continue playing for Newcastle. As much as the Magpies won't want to lose their skipper, there are some things more important than football, and Coloccini needs to reiterate how important the situation is to him and his family.
Coloccini's replacement could already be at the club though, after a surprise in the Player of the Month voting. Newcastle fans are encouraged to submit their vote for their player of the month, and the nominees included stars Tim Krul and Loic Remy, who were instrumental in Newcastle winning all their games in November, but so far, the fans believe centre back Mike Williamson deserves the award.
The former Wycombe Wanderers and Watford defender has a staggering 47% of the vote, with Krul and Remy back on 28% and 25% respectively. Williamson, 30, is currently enjoying a great run of form, keeping £7m signing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa out of the side.
image: © mikebrown59