Delap danger on Pardew’s mind

Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew is concerned about the threat of Rory Delap‘s long throw as his team prepare to take on Stoke City.

Pardew has identified 12 key areas his side must address ahead of the English Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium.

And he has warned his players they must rise to the physical demands of Saturday’s clash.

“It’s a big statistic that they score from throw-ins,” Pardew said. “Rory has an unbelievable throw and you have to cope with it.”

“That’s the good thing about the Premier League, you have different flavours, and this one tests your character.”

Newcastle go into the game in 10th place on the Premier League table and are closing in on the 40-point mark that will ease their fears of relegation back to the Championship.

“We’re not really concentrating too much on the points tally, just Stoke,” Pardew said.

“We’re not concentrating on anything but them. They can make it very difficult.”

“The pitch is small which means the set pieces are more accurate.”

“That’s something we have to cope with. We have to make sure we cope with it and concentrate on our own strengths.”

“We have to hope we don’t get too distracted from it.”

Newcastle come into the match on the back of a two-week break, while Stoke are on a high after reaching the last four of the FA Cup at the expense of West Ham.

“It’s been a productive two weeks in terms of people getting some rest,” Pardew said.

“Our injury issues aren’t behind us but it has eased a little bit and we’re looking forward to the game.”

“When you have two weeks off in the Premier League it can be difficult to focus, so we’re trying to make sure the players are ready for what will be a tough game.”

Pardew hopes Joey Barton will return from a thigh injury but Jose Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez are doubtful with hamstring problems.

“We think Joey has a good chance. Jose Enrique looks very doubtful and Jonas looks doubtful but Nile Ranger is fine.”