Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has admitted that a striker is top of his club’s shopping list going into the January transfer window.
Despite leading his side to improved displays in recent weeks, Pardew saw the north east side lose their derby match against Sunderland in the last few minutes at the weekend.
It was their third defeat in a row, a worrying trend given the extent to which Newcastle fans turned on the manager earlier this season.
The future is not any easier for Pardew, and he now faces a Boxing Day trip to Old Trafford in his attempt to arrest Newcastle’s slump in the league.
On the plus side, they won there last season shortly before the new year.
Pardew has admitted that a new striker is now a priority in January.
However, there are plus sides, with Siem De Jong running again after a thigh operation and Ayoze Perez’s development impressing Pardew.
“We have been absolutely reliant on him in a lot of ways,” he said.
“If you’d told me at the start of the season he’d be in this position, I’d have thought it unlikely but his physical improvement has been immense.
“He was already technically accomplished but whereas he was knocked off the ball far too easily when he first arrived, he’s now holding his own in tight areas.
“Ayoze is not a natural goalscorer, more a natural forward, a bit like Wayne Rooney in that he can mix it in midfield and score goals.
“He did a couple of tricks against Sunderland that I don’t think anyone else on the pitch could have produced.
“We are still a striker light.
“Even when Siem De Jong returns, we’ll need another one.
“Papiss, even taking away the flu he’s been suffering from, he’s still not right.
“He’s not 100 per cent from his knee problem last season and you can see that in the way he plays.
“That’s something we need to look at.”