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Newcastle manager Alan Pardew refuses to condemn QPR midfielder Shaun Derry over 'strong' tackle on Yohan Cabaye

Magpies boss backs referee Chris Foy's decision just to book the Hoops midfielder and insists he will be 'careful' over new signings as tight-knit Toon go sixth

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has refused to condemn Shaun Derry following a tackle from the midfielder which saw Yohan Cabaye taken off on a stretcher during his side's win over QPR.

Pardew adopted a diplomatic tone after a 1-0 victory that saw Newcastle overcome the loss of Cabaye’s services midway through the first half following an ugly lunge that saw the combative Derry booked by referee Chris Foy.

Cabaye was clearly infuriated by the challenge, which left him with an ankle injury, but Pardew took a more conciliatory tone and insisted Foy was right to simply caution Derry.

“There is always controversy about tackling but it is very difficult for referees so I am not going to sit here and criticise that decision but Yohan was upset,” Pardew told reporters after the game.

“He felt the tackle was a little bit over-exuberant but the doctor seems to think he is going to be okay. He looks okay to me. The doctor seems to think we might scan him or we might not so it isn’t an injury that is going to give us an injury going forward.

“It was a strong challenge - it was Shaun Derry, wasn’t it? Shaun Derry is a player who makes strong challenges and I thought the referee was right on top of it. I thought it was kind of borderline yellow-red. But I think probably it was yellow. He seemed to get the ball.

“The referee did a good job today. Mark Hughes' teams have a bit of steam about them and you expect that and they wanted to impress him so a few heavy tackles went in but the referee conducted himself well and he got those calls right.”

Pardew claimed Newcastle should have been awarded a second-half penalty after Akos Buzsaky “put arm to ball” but pronounced himself satisfied with the win that saw Newcastle climb to sixth place in the Premier League.

“The challenge mustn’t overshadow the fact that after Yohan went off the guys in there did a terrific job,” Pardew added.

“It wasn’t hugely entertaining or enthralling but on a professional front it was a very competent showing by us.

“We didn’t start well but we changed our system and the two boys on the flanks – Best got the goal and Ben Arfa who was absolutely terrific - just did enough to get us the win.”

As for the prospect of Newcastle remaining in the top six of the Premier League, Pardew adopted a cautious tone.

“It would be better if I was asked the question about whether we can stay in the top six when we get through this period without two great players because Cheik Tiote and Demba Ba [who are on Africa Cup of Nations duty] are two great players,” Pardew said.

“We have had two hurdles to negotiate since they went – Blackburn in the FA Cup which we won and again today – and so so far it has been a case of flying colours.

“You have to remember that a lot of the players did a good job, that will only give them confidence to go forward.

“We are sixth above Liverpool and we deserve to be there. Now it is about the next period of games. If we can get a couple of wins that we will get a hell of a boost for when our two boys come back.”

Newcastle have recently been linked with Manchester United starlet Ravel Morrison but Pardew was coy about the prospect of new signings arriving on Tyneside.

“There is money available to me and we will take a player if we think one works for us financially and for the team,” Pardew added.

“We have a really tight bunch here and I don’t want to upset it. I am going to be careful.”