Newcastle endured a dreadful start to the season, before enjoying an increased run of form which saw them move into the European places heading into the last months of 2014.
However, after becoming the first team to defeat Chelsea this season, four consecutive losses have seen the Tyneside club fall into mid-table - and out of the League Cup - and it looks to be a hard second half of the campaign for Alan Pardew’s side. If they can strengthen well in the January transfer window there may be hopes of stealing the last European qualification place, but, should they lose Moussa Sissoko - something looking likely - and suffer another injury crisis, a move towards the relegation places could be well on the cards.
However, at current strength it appears as if the Magpies are performing at roughly their level, and Pardew believes the St James’ Park outfit are nothing more than a mid-table side, although he did stress that a strong January could improve the fortunes of the club.
Quoted by the Chronicle, Pardew said: “I do think this team is stable, it’s a strong middle of the Premier League team and we need to be better than that if we can.
“I think this January is important. It’s important that big players come back to us – and we do some business.”
Pardew’s words will do little to alleviate the increasing pressure on his head growing in the recent weeks, with Newcastle a club of a size who should realistically be aiming for the upper reaches of the top flight. Although he achieved a top five finish in 2012, the 53-year-old coach seems increasingly content to relax with the Magpies sitting mid-table, and his unwillingness to push the club to the level they should be achieving at should see him replaced as manager of the St James’ Park club.