Alan Pardew is delighted at the way his strikers have stepped up to the plate in recent weeks.
Steve Stone and John Carver with Alan Pardew on Saturday
And Alan Pardew thinks some of that is because of all the news that’s been surrounding a new striker being brought into the club to replace the departed Andy Carroll, but that hasn’t happened yet, and will not happen for at least another three months.
And that’s plenty of time for Demba Ba, Leon Best and others to show they can get the striker job done on Tyneside.
Alan Pardew thinks the competition for places at the club has also been a factor in the good form of so many players at Newcastle this season:
“I haven’t laid down a challenge to my strikers, but if you’re a player at a football club and you read about new signings, it does raise your game,”
“I had it at Crystal Palace and if I was going to get replaced, it makes you think, ‘What about me?’ That’s good and you step up.”
“Managers are always looking to replace players with better ones and you’ve got to prove yourself when you step up a division like Leon has done.”
“Leon was very unlucky not to score against Blackburn. His replacement seems to have been on his way here for 16 months, ever since we got promoted. It hurts you into proving people wrong.”
And we mustn’t forget the performance of Peter Lovenkrands on Tuesday night at Nottungham Forest for the two goals he scored, so that in the last five games Best, Demba Ba and Lovenkrands have scored 8 goals between them – not too bad.
Demba Ba has had a slow start to his Newcastle career, and at times in pre-season he’s looked disinterested, but that certainly was not the case on Saturday as he has come to life over the last couple of games, in which he has put in two very good performances.
But it’s not just scoring the goals that has impressed the Newcastle manager, who has hailed the Senegal International’s all around play:
“Maybe the mistake on my part was putting him in too early,”
“They were not typical goals from Demba. He is a poacher. I’m really pleased for him because it’s not easy being a striker at Newcastle, whether you’re a big name or not. There is huge pressure to deliver.”
“I talked a little bit about the pressure when he signed, because it’s different to West Ham, where there’s a different type of pressure.”
It seems to us that Leon Best just revels in the pressure of being a Newcastle United striker, and it’s the same for Demba Ba.
It’s clear that the two strikers will be given their chance and any thoughts of using Ben Arfa as a withdrawn striker will be put on hold, at least for the foreseeable future