Newcastle poised to strengthen depleted defence for top six pursuit

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Having failed to keep a clean sheet since October, and with injuries piling up on Tyneside, Alan Pardew is keen to bolster his defence in the January transfer window.

They currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League in a season that has surpassed almost everyone’s expectations thus far.

Whilst a solid defence and disciplined organisation have formed the foundations for the team’s success up to now, Pardew wants to further strengthen his backline with Steven Taylor ruled out for the rest of the season and Fabricio Coloccini struggling with a thigh strain which has plagued him in recent weeks.

Bearing this in mind, it will be the first time Newcastle have reshuffled their backline all season in Saturday’s trip to Norwich, for which they are priced at 7/4 to win.

The Magpies have lost just once on the road all season, winning three on their travels, whilst 6/4 Norwich have won the same amount of home games.

The 23/10 on offer for the draw at Carrow Road looks a good price in light of this, and a score draw seems the most likely outcome, with odds of 14/1 appealing for a 2-2 draw.

Although he will be eager not to lose ground on his pursuit of a European place between now and the opening of the transfer window, Pardew looks to have identified targets to help in the absence of two of his most influential players.

Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has been established as a potential signing, and he would add a much-needed presence to the centre of Newcastle’s defence.

PSV left-back Erik Pieters is also wanted on Tyneside, and should Newcastle secure the services of talent of this calibre, it would be difficult to argue against them making a case for a European spot come the end of the season.

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