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Pardew challenges Magpies to find form
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has challenged his players to find their best form for a tough double-header against Bordeaux and Manchester United.
The Magpies have struggled to replicate last season's performances this campaign and have ground out results in recent weeks. However, the arrival of Bordeaux on Tyneside for Thursday night's Europa League Group D clash and Manchester United's impending visit on Sunday present Pardew's men with the perfect opportunity to finally slip into gear.
The manager said: "We have been disrupted this year by injury more than anything, and that has hurt us again tomorrow with losing Steven Taylor.
"Nevertheless, we hope in the next two games we show our true colours."
Pardew added: "The beauty of us this season is that we have been able to get results without playing our best football.
"Ideally, you want both together and the more games you play, hopefully the more rhythm you gain."
Injuries have eaten into Pardew's squad once again, with Taylor limping out of Saturday's 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw at Reading with a calf problem which is likely to keep him out of the United game too.
With goalkeeper Tim Krul and Taylor's central defensive partner Fabricio Coloccini also on the casualty list, Danny Simpson's return from a hamstring problem which has seen him miss the last five games could hardly be more timely.
Pardew said: "We have missed him, if I am honest. There are times when the wide player of the opposition has been non-existent when Danny plays.
"He goes underestimated for his defensive qualities. I will be looking forward to seeing him back, hopefully tomorrow if he gets the nod when I pick the team."