Pardew has pledged to recruit a striker who is more of a "perfect fit" for the shirt than the "technically clever" Demba Ba.
"To be honest, I don't know if Demba would have had the start he's had if he'd been saddled with all the pressure of the number nine shirt," Pardew said. "That was why it was a conscious decision that I didn't use it this season.
"I thought we had a team that wasn't cast in stone and if I'd elevated one of our strikers to the number nine, that would have meant he was definitely going to be the man and I don't think that would have been fair on anybody.
"I decided to leave it off. Whether we fill it in the next window or the window after that, I'm confident that we will."