Pardew content without Carroll
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew believes the Magpies will recover from the shock departure of Andy Carroll after watching his side triumph 2-0 at Birmingham City.
Goals from strikers Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best gave Newcastle their first win since Carroll was sold to Liverpool at the end of the January transfer window, a victory Pardew believes augurs well for the future.
The win put Newcastle up to ninth place in the Premier League, leaving them poised to mount a late season charge for a European berth. Pardew showered praise on his goalscorers after the win, insisting they were more than capable of filling the void left by Carroll's exit.
"I think it was evident that the players we have can fill the gap after Carroll," Pardew said. "The pleasing thing is that the two strikers showed effort and commitment despite the pressure that is on them.
"One [Lovenkrands] came off with a thigh strain and the other [Best] had to be substituted because of the amount of work he was doing. But for them both to score from open play is the biggest plus for me."
Pardew also praised Newcastle's approach to the game, which they dominated from the outset as Birmingham struggled to gain a foothold.
"We came into this game with momentum after our draws against Arsenal and Blackburn and it was really about getting the start right," he said. "We started faster and that made the difference and we also passed the ball well on a tricky surface."
Injury blows for Birmingham
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish, meanwhile, believes the Blues, who have the League Cup final against Arsenal looming at the end of the month, are starting to feel the effects of a heavy programme.
"I think there was a bit of fatigue. One or two players looked a bit tired and I am not going to hammer the players after one performance like that." Adding to McLeish's woes are injury concerns to defenders Martin Jiranek and Liam Ridgewell.
"Jiranek had an injection in his toe at half-time and he has come off with a thigh problem and hopefully he's not pulled a muscle," McLeish said. "With Ridgewell, I don't know how he's going to be over the next 48 hours.
"He looked as if he had a bit of cramp. We thought he'd pulled a muscle at first when he limped off. Are they doubtful for the final? I can't give you that answer now. There's no way we can diagnose something like that after a game."
Lovenkrands opened the scoring for Newcastle after only two minutes, sliding in to meet a low cross from Jonas Gutierrez at the near post. Best made sure of the points after pouncing early in the second half as Birmingham crashed to their first defeat in six matches.