Maybe Pardew thinks that Club Brugge without Leekens will be a tougher proposition than one with him. No coach has been appointed yet although rumours are flying thick and fast: Wolfgang Frank, Morten Olsen, Laslo Bölöni and Juan Carlos Garrida. Tonight the team will be under the direction of Philippe Clement, a player who had a short spell at Coventry City and went on to play almost 300 games for Club Brugge. He joined the club recently to look after the defence but has now found himself in the spotlight, at least for a few days.
Pardew is expected to field his usual mixture of first teamers (Coloccini, Tiote, Cissé and Santon) together with promising players such as Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigrimana and Sammy Ameobi. Clements has not said what side he will put out as the “English also read newspapers”. He’ll be looking for a win of course and the fans will want a performance, especially given media speculation that several players (Donk, Jorgensen and Figueras have been named) were complicit in ensuring bad results for Leekens in the last two games.
The last time that Club Brugge lost six successive games was in 1981 and that was part of a run of 10 games without a win, during which the coach was sacked. I’m not sure if history is about to repeat itself – and Club Brugge go to Anderlecht on Sunday – but I’m going for a draw tonight.