There are now five days before we kick off the Championship at Fulham on Friday night and we will get some idea from the first five games in the league in August just how well we could fare this season.
Last time down below back in 2009 we drew the first game at West Brom but then won the next five games before we tasted out first defeat at Blackpool 2-1 on 16th September, 2009.
Rafa Benitez on the sidelines on Saturday
That was after a pre-season that saw us win the first three friendlies, lose drastically by 6-1 at Leyton Orient and the draw our final two games at home to Leeds United and at Dundee United.
This time we won four of the five friendlies and drew 2-2 at Doncaster Rovers.
|Club||Location||Date and Kickoff||Result|
|Bohemian||Dalymount Park||Saturday, 16th July|
|Doncaster Rovers||Keepmoat Stadium||Wednesday, 20th July|
|KSC Lokeren||Daknamstadion||Saturday, 23rd July|
|Southend United||Roots Hall||Tuesday, 26th July|
|SBV Vitesse||St. James Park||Saturday, 30th July|
Manager Rafa Benitez has said he has approached this season for Newcastle in much the same way he has approached any season in his long and successful 30 year career as a manager.
The 56-year-old believes life in the second division will be more physical than in other leagues, but he has already brought in five players to help deal with that – with four of them being British.
This is what Rafa has said:
“I think that we are fine – I am happy and I have confidence in this team,” “We have some time to keep working and trying to improve the squad.”
“But I think it’s normal to what I’m used to; yes you have changed the competition.”
“But in terms of a team you are a manager and you have the opportunity to keep working the way you want to work and you enjoy your job.”
“In terms of football, I know the Championship, because we played a lot of games in cup competitions, so you know the teams and you watch the telly and see the teams playing.”
“It will be different because you will be there yourself this time, but the preparation of the team and everything else is similar.”
“You want to prepare a team to be compact, and you want to compete.” “Will it be more physical? Yeah, it could be.”
“Then you have players with experience in the Championship and you hope that they can cope with the intensity and the physicality.”
On Monday we have open day at St. James’ Park and it will be interesting to see how many fans turn up this time – last year we had over 14,000 turn up to see the players in training.