• Newcastle v Wigan, Premier League

Pardew has support of Newcastle board ahead of Wigan

ESPN staff
December 3, 2012
Newcastle have not won for five games © PA Photos

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Alan Pardew leads Newcastle into Monday's Premier League clash with Wigan insisting the club's board is right behind him.

Newcastle are currently two points above the relegation zone, sitting 14th in the Premier League table. Victory for visitors Wigan would see Pardew's men slide a further place down the ladder after 15 games.

With Pardew acknowledging last week that his side are currently in a relegation battle, it would be understandable if his employers were beginning to question the wisdom of handing him an eight-year contract. But Pardew says nothing could be further from the truth.

"They've given me massive support this week in trying to help me get the result I want, almost asking me what can they do for me," he said. "At the minute there's not much they can do if truth be known. Little things here and there we talked about could help but they've been very forthcoming in that.

"I don't think demanding is the word, the word from the boardroom is concern. We want to get going again and obviously to do well.

"Unfortunately we've had a real turn of events in terms of injuries. I can't think of a Premier League side in the last couple of years that has suffered as badly as we have in terms of [losing] key players. People are asking me about the window and what am I going to do in the window, but you could argue we're weak in every position through injury.

"In my view, the January window isn't something we can focus on at the minute. We have to keep our eye on every position and make sure that in January we react to who we get back because one or two will come back, for sure. Hatem [Ben Arfa] will be back by then, [Gabriel] Obertan will be back; Shola [Ameobi] will be back this weekend. I expect that when we go to Fulham I'll be in a lot stronger state than I am for Wigan and then we'll react from that."

Pardew's side are on a four-match losing streak in league competition, although Wigan are hardly in better form having lost three of their last four. The Latics are also without a win on six league visits to St James'.

In addition to Ben Arfa, Obertan and Ameobi, Pardew is also missing Yohan Cabaye, James Perch and Demba Ba, as well as Ryan and Steven Taylor.

Wigan are expected to be without Ben Watson and Shaun Maloney, while David Jones, Gary Caldwell and James McArthur face late fitness tests.

Newcastle player to watch: Newcastle have so many players missing that it is unlikely they will dominate on Monday. Their defence has not kept a clean sheet in nine league games, so expect Tim Krul to be called into action.

Wigan player to watch: Roberto Martinez believes Arouna Kone is arguably better than any of Newcastle's forwards. St James' Park provides an arena for him to prove it against the likes of Papiss Cisse.

Betting: Newcastle simply don't have the depth to cope with so many injuries, and their defence is highly penetrable. Take an entertaining 1-1 draw at 5/1 with bet365.

Prediction: 1-1

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