ALAN Pardew has called on Newcastle United fans to show captain Fabricio Coloccini some love.
Injury-hit Coloccini has struggled for form this season.
The defender – set for talks about his future at the end of the campaign – has fallen short of his own high standards.
Newcastle have conceded 17 goals during a club-record six-game Premier League losing streak.
In an interview with SportMail last month, the 32-year-old, clearly frustrated in the way the club’s campaign had unravelled, admitted United had let their fans down.
“We have to think that we’re playing for the shirt and we always have to give 100 per cent,” said Coloccini.
Pardew – who handed Coloccini the captain’s armband after the departure of Kevin Nolan in the summer of 2011 – is looking for a grandstand finish from the Argentina international, who will lead the club against Cardiff City at St James’s Park this afternoon.
“I think he needs my support and the fans’ support,” Pardew said.
“He’s a player that breeds on confidence.
“When he’s at his best, there’s no one better. On Saturday, I need Coloccini’s best performance.
“I hope he’s going to produce that for me and for the fans in particular, who love him when he’s coming out with the ball and making those exquisite passes and breaking up the play. He reads situations.
“That’s what he’s brilliant at. I hope Cardiff will feel the full force of that.”
Basement club Cardiff need a result to keep their hopes of staying in the Premier League alive, while ninth-placed United are desperate to end a dismal run of results.
And Pardew - who this week insisted he would not walk away from the job despite calls from fans for him to be sacked - believes the game will be tough “mentally” for both teams.
“It’s a really pressurised game,” said Pardew.
“There’s going to be a lot to manage in the game.
“There’ll be a lot of feeling on the pitch. Results from elsewhere are going to affect Cardiff’s mood.
“The goals are going to affect the mood. It’ll be a strong, mental game.”