By Tom Easterby
Alan Pardew is looking forward to returning to the Newcastle United bench for Monday night's trip to Arsenal (8pm kick-off).
After a touchline altercation in March's win at Hull City, the Magpies' manager has been forced to watch on from distance as his side have suffered five consecutive Barclays Premier League defeats.
But now, having served the final game of his seven-game suspension against Swansea last week, Pardew will rejoin John Carver, Steve Stone and Andy Woodman in the technical area at the Emirates Stadium, and the 52-year-old hopes his presence can lift his side.
"It's been a little bit frustrating, particularly the last couple of games when it's been really, really tight, because you like to think that you can influence the game to some degree," he explained.
"You can't determine how they play sometimes, but you can give them a psychological boost from the sidelines so it'll be very pleasing to get back there.
"I think you can influence, pick them up or encourage them, and I like to think that I can have some impact in a positive way on that.
"I think I'll sit down a little bit more, but I still will be at the side of the touchline. It's important that the team see that I'm there and we are a team, and obviously I'm part of that. I've thought about my situation going forward and I think I'll be better for it."
Wilfried Bony's last-gasp penalty condemned United to defeat last week against the Swans, but Pardew saw enough in his team's performance to suggest an upturn in fortunes might not be too far away.
Newcastle's poor run of form, he says, means Monday's encounter is just as important for his side as it is for Arsene Wenger's fourth-placed Champions League-chasers.
"It is equally important," insisted the manager.
"We were a lot better last week, I thought we were very unlucky to concede a last minute goal but the performance level was much better.
"We need a result, of course we do. Every game in the Premier League is very important, whether you're the Newcastle manager or the Arsenal manager.
"What I do know is that, for us, our recent run has not been good enough for our fans - they've made that very, very clear - and certainly hasn't been good enough for me or my staff, and I include the players in that. They're desperate to get a win.
"The recent run has hurt me more than anybody, because I take huge responsibility for those defeats.
"So it's very, very important to finish the season and make sure that we've got ourselves a look at the season that has some perspective, because in a lot of ways we've had some successful periods this season and we've had some periods that have not been as successful and they're the periods we need to improve on."