With no news on the takeover saga still, attention has to turn to efforts on the pitch for Newcastle. Quality reinforcements are looking unlikely (again) so our next run of games appear even more important to the outcome of our season.
After a brilliant 1-0 win in Stoke on New Years Day, who do NUFC take on over the remainder of January and what would be a good points haul to stay on track?
Luton Town (H) FA Cup
Newcastle will undoubtedly rotate the squad and perhaps give the likes of Woodman, Saivet and Lejeune some minutes on the pitch. Survival is our key aim this season but it is important to keep momentum following the excellent win at Stoke and a cup run will give the fans something to cheer.
Danger man: Danny Hylton – The 28 year old striker has 16 goals in all completions this season and although at a lower level, knows where the goal is. He will be desperate to make a name for himself and cause a famous FA Cup upset.
Prediction: Newcastle 3-1 Luton
Luton are top of League 2 so have some form and it will be an emotional day for the Lee family, with former Toon hero Rob Lee having his two sons Olly and Elliot play at SJP first time. It is a potential banana skin for us but our quality should shine through in the end, even if it is our second string.
Swansea City (H)
Next up in the league sees arguably the biggest game of our season so far. Despite being 13th currently, we are only six points above bottom side Swansea. This game is an ideal opportunity to put some distance between us and the relegation zone and condemn a rival further towards the relegation trap door. Swansea grabbed a surprise win at Watford under new management so it won’t be easy but you sense this is a key battle for us.
Danger man: Tammy Abraham – Their top scorer with just four goals it would be written on the wall if he scores against Newcastle after Rafa fought so hard to bring him to Newcastle on a season long loan this summer, before losing out to the Swans for his signature.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-0 Swansea
It is such a tense game but we have an excellent record against teams in and around us this season. Swansea aren’t a very good side and I am backing us to match the victory we secured in Wales earlier in the season, even if it going to be an edgy game at times.
Manchester City (A)
After wrongly getting a tirade of abuse for being too defensively in our 1-0 defeat at home to City last month, it will be interesting to see how the return ties goes. In truth, it is a free hit for NUFC with nobody expecting us to get anything – after all they have dropped four points all season.
Danger man: Sergio Aguero – Could have been anyone of five players here but with Jesus out Aguero will take centre stage and always scores against Newcastle. At the Etihad it will be hard to keep him at bay.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Newcastle
Never nice backing against Newcastle and by such a margin but in all likelihood anything other than a comfortable victory for City isn’t realistic. Our season won’t be define by this game either way. Our goal difference is one of the best in the bottom half so it would be good to keep it that way.
On paper a home game to Burnley always appears a very winnable fixture but this season they have started to change that perception. Away from home they have been outstanding, winning at Chelsea and securing draws at Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal. They are 7th in the table and this will be a real tough test.
Danger man: Chris Wood – The New Zealand hitman will be back from injury then and scored a good goal at SJP for Leeds United in the Championship last season. He is a physical threat and their focal point up front; Lascelles and co will have their hands full keeping him quiet.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Burnley
Providing we beat Swansea a point wouldn’t be too harmful for us and would mean we would be on 26 points after 25 games. We have a poor home record after all so four points from these games would be progress.
If my prediction rung true, we’d move into the next round of the Cup and collect 4 points in the league, seeing us move up to 26 points with 13 games to play.
It’d be a great return, but what results do you predict this month? Let us know!