Newcastle finished top of the Championship last May with a record 102 points, which was 11 points clear of West Bromwich Albion, who were in second place.
Chris Hughton – good test at West Brom
Nottingham Forest were 23 points behind in 3rd place, but of course Blackpool surprisingly won the 3rd promotion spot in the playoffs.
Both Blackpool and West Brom have done very well this season, and all three promoted clubs are currently on 19 points from their first 15 league games.
We have a chance on Sunday to see how well we’ve progressed this season, at least as compared to West Brom, who we drew with twice in the league last season.
But of course they did beat us 4-2 in the FA Cup 4th round in January at the Hawthorns, to knock us out of that tournament, the game coming just 5 days after we had drawn 2-2 with them at St. James’ Park in the league.
West Brom certainly seemed to have improved under their very good manager, Roberto Di Matteo, and they play some good looking football.
The Newcastle manager told the Evening Chronicle today:
“This season West Brom and ourselves have both had similar starts to the season in the Premier League.” “They are very much like us in that they have pulled off a few surprises.”
“They play a good style of football and they certainly deserve to be where they are.” “It will be a tough game and they are more than capable of a result so we have to treat them with the greatest respect.”
Newcastle have been forced to train indoors for most of their preparation for Sunday’s game at West Brom, with the freezing and wintry conditions that are gripping England at the moment, and particularly in the North East.
And West Brom were in action last night in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, and lost to a goal from former Sunderland player Grant Leadbitter at Ipswich, so that may help Newcastle have an edge on Sunday – maybe.
But as Andy Carroll talked about yesterday the spirit in the side is unbelievable, and that’s always great to hear, and it’s one of our biggest strengths this season. Even when the lads play badly we know it’;s not becasue a lack of effort, but consistency has to be the key for Newcatsle through the rest of the seaosn.
We can hardly afford not to turn up at games, as happened at Bolton, when we were just hammered.
We have a good chance to get back onto our winning ways against West Brom on Sunday and the last time we won was that tremendous away victory at Arsenal on 7th November.
If we can beat Arsenal away then there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing at the Hawthorns, but our good side will have to turn up for that game.
The news on the playing front is that Joey Barton will return after his 3 match suspension, and he could come in for Danny Guthrie in the middle of the park – his best position – and hopefully help Newcastle to all 3 points on Sunday.
A win would be very welcome to Newcastle fans everywhere, that’s for sure.