Newcastle players are united with Pardew

LEADER ... Fabricio Coloccini.

LEADER ... Fabricio Coloccini.

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FABRICIO Coloccini says he and his Newcastle team-mates are united behind manager Alan Pardew – and ready to pull through a “difficult” time for the club.

Pardew’s side are third from bottom of the Premier League.

Frustrated fans have again called for Pardew’s dismissal over the past few weeks.

But the 53-year-old – the top flight’s second-longest serving manager – retains the backing of club owner Mike Ashley.

And Pardew will be in the dugout for the home game against Leicester City a week today, a fixture which is followed a by a tough run of league and cup games.

Captain Coloccini, relegated with the club in 2008-09, has conceded that United must improve – and quickly.

But the 32-year-old feels that Newcastle’s squad is good enough to climb the table amid fears the club is facing a season-long relegation battle.

“We have to improve and look forward,” Coloccini said.

“It’s a difficult time for us. But we have confidence in this group and the manager.

“We have a tight group and we’re staying positive.”

Coloccini’s own form has come under scrutiny from supporters, with the defender having been culpable for a number of goals conceded so far this season.

The influential Argentina international, however, remains the first name on Pardew’s teamsheet.