Pardew hints at shake-up for Aston Villa clash

Alan Pardew has warned he may shake up his under-performing Newcastle United side for Sunday's visit of Aston Villa.

Newcastle have lost their last five outings at St James' Park in all competitions, while their four consecutive league defeats at home have seen the side fail to score.

Pardew was reportedly furious in the aftermath of a 4-0 defeat to Tottenham last time out and, having had 11 days to mull over his selection, has challenged those who do play on Sunday to step up.

"Obviously, I've got to pick a side which I think will beat Aston Villa," Pardew told the Shields Gazette.

"It's never been a headache for me to pick a team – I really don't have that issue. I've changed tack with one or two players in terms of what I think they need to do to pick their season up again.

"Most of the players have been terrific for me this season.

"But this last run hasn't been good enough, and I have to react to that.

"I thought it was important to remind them of the responsibilities they have.

"No matter how comfortable we are in the league, there are certain standards. I made that clear."

One player Pardew may not include is Hatem Ben Arfa, though it is a lack of fitness that places him in doubt, with the Newcastle boss revealing he did not expect the France international to feature against Villa after missing training with a knock.

However, Pardew will be able to call on Loic Remy again after suspension, and is keen to get the loanee striker straight back into action.

"One thing that is for certain is that Loic will return," added Pardew.

"He's an important factor in the way we've played this year.

"To have him back has been a big lift for everybody. He, in himself, has got a lift. There's a freedom to him."