ALAN Pardew says staying in the Premier League is the “be all and end all” for Newcastle United – but he still believes they can have a run in the cups.
The Magpies has a dismal record in the domestic cups under Pardew, whose side take travel to Gillingham for a Capital One Cup’s second-round tie tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
Newcastle’s hierarchy angered fans last season by stating that the league was the club’s “priority” because of the financial imperatives of staying in the top flight.
United manager Pardew feels the controversial policy isn’t uncommon in the Premier League, though other sides won’t admit it publicly.
“Perhaps we at board level say what other boards don’t say – that the Premier League is the be-all and end-all because of the TV money,” said Pardew.
“You can’t hide from that and we have not hidden from it.
“We have actually said it, perhaps to our detriment. We have said it and that is our priority.”
However, Pardew – whose side drew 0-0 with Aston Villa on Saturday – still feels his team can challenge for a cup, despite the pressure on him to focus his playing resources on a high-placed Premier finish.
And the onus is on him to get his team selection right at at the Priestfield Stadium.
Pardew said: “Of course, we want to win a cup and of course our fans do.”
And the 53-year-old joked he would be made a Freeman of the City – and graze cattle on the Town Moor – if United were to end a 45-year trophy drought.
He added: “I want to get some cows on that field in Newcastle!”
United rarely hang around in either of the cup competitions.
They went out of the FA Cup at the third-round stage last season against then Premier strugglers Cardiff City.
Pardew made a number of changes for that game but this time he told SportMail he will select his cup side from the same 20-man squad he took to Villa.
“I think one of the most disappointing games for me last year was Cardiff, when we should have won in the FA Cup and we lost it in the last sort of eight or nine minutes,” he said.
“That was our last cup game, and we need to react to that. We need to get a win.
“I will probably take the same 20 players that I took (to Villa) to Gillingham.”