Chris Hughton has become a master at getting his side ready for each game, as it arrives.
Chris Hughton – gets another win – the 25th of the season
And today, while he played a number of players that hadn’t played for a while, including Joey Barton, Fabrice Pancrate and Alan Smith, the lads finally got the job done although Hughton had to replace the ineffective Pancrate with Wayne Routledge at half time.
Pancrate will not get many more chances on Tyneside, and it’s looking like the Frenchman will not win a new contract this summer.
And Joey Barton got his first goal of the season this afternoon, Nolan his 14th, and Shola Ameobi seems as red-hot as he was in August with his 10the goal in 10 starts.
And that’s his second goal in as many appearances since returning from his hamstring problems. We may have to reconsider our opinion that he’ll move on this summer. 😀
And Chris Hughton seemed delighted at the result, on a difficult pitch this afternoon, as he said after the game:
“It’s a case of job done. We came here to get three points and that is what we have done and we can now look forward to Sheffield United on Monday knowing exactly what we have do.”
The only thing now that can spoil the party on Monday night is that Newcastle don’t win against The Blades, although a draw will be good enough, but somehow we think the lads will win the game.
Newcastle are really promoted right now, since Nottingham Forest can only now equal Newcastle’s current points total of 86, and the Forest goal difference is 26 goals worse that Newcastle’s —-> 47 vs 21.
But a point officially will do it on Monday night and the partying can then begin – finally.
But then we’ll still need to beat Blackpool at home next Saturday, and Blackpool are pushing for a play-off place, since they are currently in 7th place, so that game will not be easy. If we win all our remaining 6 games we can get to 104 points – so a good challenge would now be to get to 100 points, at least.
But surely we’ll be better than some of the teams in the PL next season. We mentioned mid-week how poor Burnley looked against Blackburn, who were not too much better, and at half time this afternoon Burnley are 5-0 down to Manchester City at half time – they look so hopeless and clueless.
Wallsend-born manager Brian Laws has a tough job to keep them up this season with the Turf Moor club second bottom and 3 points behind 3rd bottom Hull City, who finished last season one point ahead of Newcastle with a worse goal difference.
But there will be other sides that we should be better than next season – well here’s hoping – but certainly there is much work to do this summer in strengthening our squad significantly, for the battles that lie ahead next season.