By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
With Newcastle and Reading separated by five points and three places in the Barclays Premier League table, Alan Pardew has admitted that Saturday's home game against the Royals is a "six-pointer."
The Magpies manager knows that final league positions aren't decided in January but accepts that it would be a huge boost if his side were eight points clear of Brian McDermott's team come Saturday evening.
Equally, second-bottom Reading could close the gap to just two points with victory at St. James' Park and the men from the Madejski Stadium will be full of confidence after a stunning comeback to beat West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
They've lost just one of their last five games in all competitions and Pardew said: "It's an important game for us and Reading. People talk about six-pointers and all that - it actually is between us two clubs. We can't hide from that.
"We need to get that distance between us and then strengthen, and then suddenly we would look a lot rosier than we do sitting here today.
"I think momentum's very important - that's a strong tool to have in the Premier League. You believe you're going to win.
"Reading last week were 2-0 down with seven or eight minutes to go and ended up winning the game. It was quite rare that that would happen but they had that belief that maybe they could get something out of it and that's what we need to gain."
After leaking 11 goals in two games at Manchester United and Arsenal at the end of 2012, Pardew was encouraged to see his side keep a clean sheet at Norwich last weekend.
And he said: "Defensively we need to tighten up and I think we did that at Norwich, and I thought we did it against Everton too against a really good side.
"So I think we're showing signs of that, but showing signs and delivering is really where we are now. Showing signs is not good enough - we've got to deliver and we need to start winning."
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