Sun, 28 Jul 2013 18:40:00 – Everton captain Phil Jagielka is confident the squad is capable of hitting the ground running in the new Premier League season - with several youngsters emerging.
Starlets such as Ross Barkley, John Stones and Luke Garbutt have impressed in the pre-season friendlies and England defender Jagielka says the atmosphere under new manager Roberto Martinez is a positive one.
"This is the strongest squad we've had for pre-season for a while," said the 30-year-old on Everton's official website.
"Normally it's been interrupted and we've only had 12, 13 or 14 players, but the manager has got probably 16 to 18 players plus a few of the younger lads on the periphery as well.
"It was fantastic to see Ross come back and enjoy himself and play well. The same goes for John. The manager's got quite a few young lads to look at and that can only make us stronger."
Speaking after a pleasing 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, Jagielka added: "It's always nice to be scoring goals and the most important thing is to be creating chances - we did that a lot in both halves.
"We could have created a few more, but we're not going to get carried away - it's only pre-season and a few of the boys have only been back a week or so.
"We're still building up for the start of the season and hopefully when you speak to me in a few more weeks we'll be converting even more chances and looking more solid at the back.
"The manager is excited with the potential he sees and that is the state of play at the moment. We're nothing like a finished project yet, but we put in a really good performance. We're a little bit disappointed to concede the goal, but other than that I thought we pretty much controlled the game.
"We gained valuable minutes and a few of the lads came back a bit later than others so it was nice to see them get their first outing and nice for Jela (Nikica Jelavic) to get a couple of goals."
Pardew, who is eager to increase his attacking options ahead of the new season, has been working alongside chief scout Graham Carr and Kinnear in trying to being in new faces.
The Magpies are understood to have made an increased offer of Â£6.9million for Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis while QPR forward Loic Remy has also been linked with a season-long loan deal.
Kinnear, who was brought in at St James' Park last month by owner Mike Ashley, has already conceded the club need more talent and Pardew wants some new faces.
"Myself and Graham Carr have given Joe the targets, but they're difficult to get over the line," Pardew told Sky Sports.
"And I'm sure Joe's trying to be very patient in trying to get the right player for us.
"There's been no problem (with Kinnear). Joe's job is to make sure that I get the support I need and he's trying to do everything he can to do that.
"It's obvious at the moment that we need a player or two and hopefully he can do that.
"We're in good shape. We've got a strong squad, but we just need a little tip over the edge to give us that depth that we need."
Newcastle were thankful to Shola Ameobi's early strike as they earned a 1-0 victory at Championship side Blackpool in their latest pre-season friendly on Sunday.
The striker tucked away a neat volley in front of 2,000 visiting fans after five minutes to secure a hard-earned win.
"It's a good win for us," said Pardew. "We defended well at times and had two or three good opportunities to get a second goal. I thought it was a good day's work.
"I think we're in good shape physically and it's just about getting the right balance in the team."