ALAN Pardew is planning to go double top at Newcastle United next season – by fielding two strikers.
Papiss Demba Cisse was used as a lone forward by Pardew for much of last season.
However, Pardew has signalled a change in tactics ahead of the new campaign.
The only problem for Pardew – waiting for director of football Joe Kinnear to deliver the club’s first summer signing – is the lack of numbers up front he has to work with.
With Papiss Demba Cisse facing an uncertain future at the club over his unwillingness to wear a Wonga-branded jersey, Pardew is left with Yoan Gouffran and Shola Ameobi has his only available senior strikers.
“I hope to play with two strikers this year more often than not,” Pardew told SportMail.
Hatem Ben Arfa, Moussa Sissoko and Haris Vuckic, can also play in a more advanced positions.
Ben Arfa was deployed behind Ameobi in his first pre-season outing, Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw against Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal.
Gouffran, meanwhile, has played the No.9 role in pre-season, and is looking to play through the middle.
He could get another chance in Sunday’s game against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
“I want competition for those two players - Gouff will definitely offer that,” added Pardew.
Gouffran joined United in January from Bordeaux, and the 27-year-old showed in the second half of last season he can be more than just a squad player.
However, he was rarely played up front, and Pardew admits he could feature more as an out and out striker over the coming months.
“I think all strikers want to be the No9 who gets the goals and plays through the middle,” he said.
“That’s a very important role for this team.
“Gouff has shown that he can give us quality in that area, and depending on our business, he could get a good start there.”
Ameobi has netted two pre-season goals, while Vuckic, Sissoko, Gouffran and Sylvain Marveaux have also found the net.