Kevin Nolan returned to the Newcastle side on Saturday at Blackpool, but didn’t complete the game because of a slight groin strain.
Kevin Nolan – we want to finish in top 10
Newcastle are now in 9th position in the league, but are now 5 points behind 8th placed Bolton, who beat Arsenal yesterday with an injury time winner, and the Trotters also have a game in hand.
So the best Newcastle can finish is probably in 9th place, and as we pointed out yesterday, the 6 teams immediately below Newcastle are separated by only 3 points, and Sunderland are now level on points, after their 4-2 win at home to Wigan.
But as we saw on Saturday no game is an easy game this season in the Premier League, and credit to Blackpool for turning in a very good display when they are fighting for their PL lives.
We have to hope Blackpool can survive, and then all three teams promoted last May will remain in the Premier League, which would be unusual.
Each position in the league is worth around £800K to the club, and if Newcastle can finish in the top half of the table, that will look good to potential transfer targets wanting to come to Tyneside this summer.
This is what Kevin Nolan said today when asked if Newcastle were now safe on 41 points:
“Probably, probably, but we’re not resting here,” “We want to get to as many points as we can. The aim is to get above the person who is above us.”
“That’s always been our goal. We’ve never talked about relegation, we’ve never talked about Europe.” “We’ve tried to keep our focus mainly on keeping in that top ten. Every time we’ve dropped out of it we seem to have put a run together.”
“We want to finish high and get as much money back for the club so they can spend it in the summer.” “After going 1-0 up I thought we were quite steady and then we decided to do things we don’t normally do and we probably lifted them more than we should,”
“But we had a massive game in midweek when the lads had put in a great effort against the top team in the league and got a result. That probably showed in our performance at Blackpool. It would have been nice to go there fresh but the players who played have played the majority of the games.
“I was the only change and it would have been nice if we could have made three or four.” “We had a lot of young lads on the bench.” “None of them were penalties. No chance.”
“I gave Martin a bit of stick throughout the game but I thought he handled the game and their crowd really well because sometimes it’s intense.” “Although there’s only 16,000 they’re right on top of you, moaning for everything because they’re scrapping for their lives.”
“I’m still a bit iffy about the (Blackpool) goal, I don’t think it was one, but hopefully between now and the end of the season we’ll get a nice decision in our favor to even that out.
The fans could see another fighting performance from Newcastle at Anfield next Sunday afternoon, but the two home games against Birmingham and WBA are the two the Magpies have the best chance of winning.
The other game is away at Stamford Bridge, and both Chelsea and Liverpool are now playing some of their best football, so those two games will be tough ones for our boys.
But with this Newcastle team you just never know, and the great Ben Arfa should be returning in two weeks for the home game against Birmingham.
A finish in the top 10 is what the aim is now for Newcastle, and if they can manage that, it will have been a great first season back for the club.