Alan Pardew targets January signings for Newcastle

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has identified where the squad he inherited from Chris Hughton needs to be reinforced.

With the winter transfer window due to open in little more than a fortnight, Pardew has used his first full week at the helm to run the rule over what he already has and get an idea of what he may need to add to his resources.

While he is happy with what he has seen, and in particular with the senior players, he will attempt to persuade owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias there is room for improvement.

Pardew said: "I think I am pretty clear in my mind of a couple of areas that need strengthening.

"As a general rule, you get a feeling about who is going to fit the right criteria to play for this big club.

"It's a big club. You bring professionals here and you are in danger of the club being bigger than the individual, and you have to make sure that the character of the players, first and foremost, can carry the shirt.

"It's a heavy shirt, the Newcastle shirt. I am looking at the group and you can take it as read that the Bartons and Nolans, it fits comfortably, and Andy Carroll, his shirt fits and has got a big number nine on it, which carries its own weight.

"That's something that when I sit down with Derek and the chief scout and all my staff to talk about the January window and the window going forward, that will be top of the list."

Hughton had been told in no uncertain terms that his rebuilding work for the season had to be done last summer, and he had no plans for a dip back into the market next month.

However, Pardew was confident the day he was unveiled at St James' Park that he would be able to argue his case with Ashley, and he remains optimistic.

He said: "I just feel that won't be an issue, other than a financial issue.

"Of course, there is always somebody who is out of reach or not quite right and the deal doesn't make any sense, their age of whatever.

"You have to work through that with the owners, and I have no problem with that."

Pardew's comments came amid reports that the Qatar Foundation could be ready to make Ashley an offer for the club.

There has been no contact as yet, and sources on Tyneside have insisted the club, which was taken off the market for the second time in October last year, is not for sale.

But all that will have little bearing on Pardew as he attempts to hit the ground running by reviewing the season to date.

He said: "I have watched three-quarters of the games now, there are maybe only a couple to go, and analysed some things we can improve on, and that's something I will present to the players in the next seven days.

"There are definitely areas for improvement, in my opinion, with all teams.

"With this team and where they are, they have done terrifically so far. We just want to add a few things and see if we can try to improve on that."

Despite adding Steve Stone and Willie Donachie to his coaching team this week, Pardew has yet to appoint a number two - Chris Powell and Ray Lewington are understood to be among the names in the frame - although that is a decision he will not rush.

He said: "It is going to be very important to me and to Steve Stone in particular that we get the right person for this job."

Pardew will be boosted for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Birmingham by the return of Steve Harper from injury and Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini from suspension, although Sol Campbell is a doubt through illness while Shola Ameobi is struggling with a hamstring strain.

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