Alan Pardew calls for improvement at Newcastle

Magpies play lowly QPR this weekend

Alan Pardew wants Newcastle to show they are better than the Barclays Premier League table would suggest when they face QPR at St James' Park tomorrow.

A run of six defeats from seven league games has left the Magpies in 15th place and only two points above the relegation zone.

Boss Pardew said: "Well, you are only as good as where you currently are and we are not very good at the minute in terms of the table so we need to improve.

"A win would go a long way this weekend and we need to just focus on that really. It's silly to look too far ahead.

"We have an important game on Saturday. Our fans are going to be important and we need to make sure we put in a performance like we have in the last four, which have been much, much better without, perhaps, getting the rewards we deserved."

Wigan currently occupy 18th spot and their efforts to climb out of the bottom three have not been helped by an injury crisis that could leave them without eight players for tomorrow's match against Arsenal.

One name certain to be on the teamsheet is goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, who has been a huge hit at the DW Stadium since joining the club, initially on loan, from neighbours Bolton in July 2010.

Tomorrow will be the Oman international's 100th appearance for Wigan in all competitions and manager Roberto Martinez said: "He's been very, very consistent.

"As a character and as a human being in that dressing room he's been an example for anyone that wants to play in the first team. He arrived as a loan player and he became an instant hero - and since then he's been performing at a very good level.

"But we all feel the best of Ali is still to come and I hope we can see that over many years."

Southampton, who are ahead of Wigan on goal difference only but do have a game in hand, host fellow strugglers Sunderland tomorrow.

Injuries have also been on the agenda at St Mary's, with captain Adam Lallana suffering a knee problem earlier this month and manager Nigel Adkins again refused to reveal how long the midfielder might be out.

"Adam is still in his knee brace," said Adkins. "He is progressing well and is now off the crutches. He won't be available for Saturday's game against Sunderland and that is all I need to say."

Second-placed Manchester City will hope to close the gap on their city rivals United, at least for 24 hours, when they meet bottom side Reading tomorrow while fourth-placed Tottenham host Stoke.

Too many draws have seen Everton drop out of the Champions League places and they will be looking for three points at West Ham, in-form Norwich travel to West Brom and Liverpool host Fulham.

On Sunday, leaders Manchester United head to South Wales to meet Swansea while Chelsea face improving Aston Villa.

PA

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