18 September 2014 12:27
Under-pressure Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew looks set to face a hostile atmosphere when Hull City visit St James’ Park on Saturday.
Pardew’s side sit bottom of the Premier League after a comprehensive 4-0 humbling at the hands of his former club Southampton last weekend, as their malaise from last season continued into the new campaign.
With more fan protests expected against the management and owner Mike Ashley, Newcastle will attempt to win in the league for only the third time since they last faced Hull – a 4-1 win in March marred by Pardew’s headbutt on the hosts’ midfielder David Meyler.
Newcastle endured a woeful end to last season as Pardew served a lengthy touchline and stadium ban and their misery has continued so far this term, despite initial optimism following a clutch of signings in the transfer window.
Pardew’s position is now under more scrutiny and the 53-year-old, who could be without creative midfielder Siem de Jong for the rest of the year, knows his side need a cutting edge as he attempts to turn their fortunes around.
“The worry is how many goals are we going to score? We need to find a formula which will get us some goals,” he said.
“We’ve spoken about how important making a good start against Hull is because that’s something we haven’t been doing.”
When asked about De Jong, he added: “I’m suggesting, certainly, he won’t be back for the next three months.
“After that it could be any time, really.”
Steve Bruce, who has been linked with the Newcastle job, makes the trip to Tyneside in relatively buoyant mood after goals from deadline-day signings Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame helped secured a 2-2 draw against West Ham on Monday.
Hull have lost just once in the league this season and boast an impressive recent record at Newcastle – having won on their last three visits in all competitions.
Newcastle loanee Hatem Ben Arfa will not be available to play against his parent club, so Bruce could hand a start to Gaston Ramirez – who came off the bench against West Ham – and the former Sunderland boss is eager to see Hernandez and Diame continue their promising starts to life at Hull.
“They both had wonderful debuts,” he said.
“Scoring on their debuts will do them both the world of good.
“We know [Hernandez] can finish with his left foot, he’s a decent athlete, he’s good in the air and as a South American, he’s tough enough to go and play the game.
“We played [Diame] in a central midfield role which I know he enjoys. He can also play either left or right in a midfield three and he has a lot of talent.
“If he keeps playing like he did on Monday, I’ll be perfectly happy.”
Neither side have any fresh injury concerns ahead of a clash that could see Newcastle join Hull on five points in mid-table.
Newcastle fans are planning to hold a minute’s applause for midfielder Jonas Gutierrez, who this week revealed that he is being treated for testicular cancer.