All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from St. James' Park...
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew remains under pressure after a terrible run of results, with their 1-0 defeat to Stoke marking their seventh game in the last 10 where they haven't even scored a goal. Fans are getting restless on Tyneside, and Pardew knows that he needs to restore the harmony at St. James' Park.
"If you lose four on the trot as Newcastle manager it will always be difficult," he said. "We all have to shoulder responsibility, none more so than myself. I think the fans are fair, and we haven't been fair to them recently with our performances. I want to bring back that harmony we had with them not so long ago."
The poor performances of late mean that some players at the club are playing for their futures, though some look set for exit door in the summer regardless of how they perform in the final four games of the season. One of those appeared to be enigmatic winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who reportedly had a dressing room bust-up with manager Pardew, but the former Chartlon and West Ham boss insisted that the French international does still have a future at the club.
"Yes. He’s still contracted here, I think, for two years," said Pardew, who wouldn't be drawn on whether Ben Arfa was in his immediate plans, as interest begins to grow in the former Lyon and Marseille star.
Meanwhile, the Magpies will be looking to strengthen in the summer transfer window, particularly having earned £20m from the sale of midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain in January. The primary concern for Pardew must be their lack of goalscoring prowess, and as a result, Watford striker Troy Deeney has been linked with a move to the North East.
With over 40 goals in the last two seasons, Deeney has established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the Championship, and could be seen as a potential replacement for Loic Remy, whose loan spell from QPR ends in the summer.