ALAN Pardew has challenged his Newcastle United players to “step up to the plate” – before it’s too late.
Pardew’s side went into this afternoon’s game against Swansea City without a win in the Premier League.
And the club’s plight at the foot of the division has led to more calls for Pardew’s dismissal.
Pardew said he planned to make changes to his team after Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
However, the 53-year-old will “lean on” his experienced players, including previously-relegated captain Fabricio Coloccini.
“It’s important we step up to the plate,” said Pardew.
“We need to lean on the experienced players.
“Coloccini has been relegated here. He knows what can happen at this football club, and that was a bloody good squad which went down.
“This is a much younger squad than that. We haven’t got time to wait for players to come through. We need that to happen now.”
With Siem de Jong sidelined until the New Year, the onus is on his fellow summer signing Remy Cabella to make the team tick in the final third of the pitch.
Cabella, however, is still adjusting to the pace and power of the Premier League.
“Remy Cabella has got to start performing now,” said Pardew.
“Our younger players, like Sammy (Ameobi) and (Paul) Dummett, have got to deliver now, we aren’t hanging about anymore.
“You have to deliver now, but that might not be a bad thing. If we were in this position with six games I’d be worried. We’ve got a lot of games to go and we’re getting battle-hardened.
“We’ve had good aggression on the training ground this week.”
The club’s summer signings have had a baptism of fire over the past two months given the off-the-field protests against Pardew.
“It’s something you can’t disguise from them,” he said.“Initially this season, I could shield them to a degree. I was trying to shield them from the pressure that was coming on me.
“This is a difficult club to play for, I think.
“It can be the greatest club in the world to play for when you are winning, but we are not winning, so it becomes even harder to play for us, and we need to make sure we can handle that.
“These players are going to learn more in the next six weeks, probably, than they have for the last two years of their careers.”
NEWCASTLE United fans could have to wait a little longer to get theirt first glimpse of Facundo Ferreyra – but Ayoze Perez could make an impact ahead of schedule.
Striker Ferreyra, signed on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, is yet to make a competitive appearance for the club.
And the 23-year-old is unlikely to get his first taste of Premier League football against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
But forward Perez, signed from Tenerife in the summer as one for the future, has already come off the bench seven times this season.
And the 21-year-old scored FOUR goals in a behind-closed-doors game against Carlisle United this week.
Newcastle have failed to score in four of their first six league games, and the emerging Perez offers a welcome option off the bench for manager Alan Pardew, whose side have lacked ideas in the final third of the pitch.
“Ferryra has been a bit unfortunate since he arrived, and has had a couple of knocks that have knocked him back,” said Pardew.
“He had a reserve game recently with Perez, and they both did well.
“Perez is probably just in front of him at the moment.
“He needs a bit more football and a few more games, but he’s another footballer who needs to adapt to the Premier league.
“It’s a tough league. When you don’t start well, it’s more difficult for these guys to adjust.
“The only message I’ve seen on the training ground that they are trying their damned hardest to show that with a result.”
Ferreyra, a friend of Argentinian countryman Fabricio Coloccini, was allowed to leave Shakhtar on loan because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.