Newcastle United-Stoke City Preview
LONDON (SE) - Newcastle United are still seeking their first road victory, and manager Alan Pardew is pleading for patience from the supporters.
Hosts Stoke City aren't likely to help.
The Toon Army's patience may be in for another big test as the Magpies attempt to end Stoke's 13-match unbeaten run at Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night.
Pardew guided Newcastle (3-5-5) to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League last season, but they're struggling to build on that success.
They're in the lower half of the table thanks in part to an 0-4-2 away record. The Magpies are 0-7-4 on the road in all competitions since a 2-0 win over Chelsea on May 2.
Lately, the venues hasn't mattered as Newcastle are mired in a 0-3-3 overall stretch that has left Pardew begging for backing from the stands.
Newcastle lost on the road again Sunday, falling 2-0 to promoted Southampton.
"I think our fans are going to need to stay with us now," Pardew told the team's official website. "We're open to criticism but we need our fans to be with us because we've not got a lot of players to choose from.
"It's not like we can make four or five changes. It's going to be very much about riding this period out and staying together as a group - and with our fans as well."
Part of the problem may stem from a slew of injuries, including one to Yohan Cabaye. The midfielder has missed three matches and isn't returning any time soon after undergoing surgery on his injured groin Monday.
Both of his goals have come on the road.
Those absences may only increase the pressure on Demba Ba, the team leader with eight goals. However, the forward has found the net only twice in eight contests, and mustered only one shot on target Sunday.
A meeting with Stoke may get Ba going again since he's scored four times in three career meetings with all of them ending in Newcastle victories. That includes a hat trick to power a 3-1 victory in the most recent visit to the Britannia on Oct. 31, 2011.
The Potters, though, haven't lost at home in league play since a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Feb. 4. They're 6-7-0 in 13 matches since, keeping clean sheets in each of the last four.
Stoke's impressive run continued with Saturday's 1-0 win over Fulham, but goal-scorer Charlie Adam feels the margin should have been greater.
"We could, and maybe should, have scored a lot more goals than we did," Adam told the team's official website. "In the end, one proved to be enough, but we know that we could have had four or five more."
Adam may have a hand in any offensive surge by Stoke. The midfielder has scored in two of the last three matches after failing to find the net in his first nine matches at the club, following his move from Liverpool before the close of the summer transfer window.
"When I came here, I said that I wanted to score goals, and I have a couple to my name now," Adam said. "Hopefully, I can continue to get into the positions inside the penalty area and grab myself a few more over the next few months."
Stoke may need Adam to keep scoring since Peter Crouch is on a seven-match goal drought since getting a brace in a 2-0 home win over Swansea City on Sept. 29.
Crouch hasn't scored against Newcastle in nine meetings, getting the most recent goal with Liverpool on March 19, 2006.