ALAN Pardew’s challenged his rejuventated Newcastle United side to “attack” the Premier League – and banish all thoughts of relegation.
The club take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
And Newcastle, buoyed by back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Aston Villa, are in confident mood ahead of their visit to North London, where they were given a 5-0 drubbing last season.
United, having teetered above the drop zone for much of the campaign, are now six points clear of the bottom three.
And a cautiously optimistic Pardew is now looking up the table for the first time in months.
“You look at us and think ‘well, we’re not out of it yet’,” Pardew said.
“But you look above us, and we’re not that far away from Stoke – three points.
“That’s what we’ve got to do now – attack the league and see where we can end up.”
Pardew will have Cheik Tiote available to face Tottenham after the midfielder returned from the African Cup of Nations this week after the Ivory Coast were knocked out by Nigeria last weekend.
However, the game will come too soon for forward Hatem Ben Arfa, who is close to a comeback from a long-term hamstring problem.
Tiote and Ben Arfa, hugely influential players last season, were automatic starters earlier in the campaign.
But the form of United’s players – including new signings Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran – against Chelsea and Villa means Pardew will be reluctant to change a winning team.
Asked if they will have to fight to return to the starting XI, Pardew simply said: “Correct.”
Meanwhile, Emmamuel Adebayor, in the Togo side knocked out of the African Cup of Nations, by Burkina Faso, could lead the line for Spurs after returning from South Africa.Tottenham’s only other senior striker, Jermain Defoe, suffered an ankle injury last weekend, and could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Adebayor scored in the corresponding fixture at White Hart Lane last season.