We’ve been speaking to a Huddersfield fan this week ahead of Saturday’s big game at St James’ Park, gaining some thoughts from Terriers fan Chris McLyne following his trip up to Tyneside this weekend.
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
Here’s what Chris had to say during our pre-match chat:
Q1) – Is there any belief in your camp that you can stay up?
“I’ve accepted our fate – and I think most of our players will have privately.
“We’re down and just playing for pride now under the new boss. To be honest though, I’d rather enjoy Championship seasons than put up with what we’ve had to watch over the last year!
“The new boss is saying the right things and saying we won’t give up etc., but I think this is just him trying to build any sort of momentum ahead of a Championship campaign to come.
“There’s plenty teams in the mix, so we could’ve pulled off the great escape if we had two or three more wins under our belt, but we just can’t score for toffee and aren’t exactly rock solid at the back.
“We try, but the bottom line is we’re just not very good and have few quality players good enough to be the difference’.
Q2) – Who are the strengths and weaknesses in your current side? Any ‘ones to watch’ that most NUFC fans wouldn’t know about from watching you on Match of the Day?
“Aaron Mooy is easily our best player and I’m glad to confirm he is back for this one after missing the game between us late last year. He makes us tick in midfield and is great off the ball too. If he’s poor then you’ll win..
“Billing is another good midfielder and our ‘one to watch’, although he’s a bit too shot happy. Still, he’s a real talent and a player I can see going on to do big things after us…although he needs to improve much more off the ball.
“Kongolo, our left-back, is a good player and has the sort of class few of our players carry. He’ll be hard to get past for whoever is playing down your right!
“The big weakness is our total lack of goal scorers. We haven’t got anyone close to being good enough at this level up top unfortunately.
“We lack quality out wide too, so we’re totally reliant on the likes of Mooy, Pritchard, Billing and Puncheon…but you can only do so much centrally if you have nothing up front or out wide!”
Q3) – Which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in Newcastle’s side?
“Rondon is a beast and will bully our centre-halves. He didn’t get much service in the first game we played this season but he doesn’t half make the most of what he’s given.
“I’ve always liked Perez but don’t think he’ll get much change out of Kongolo and I’m intrigued to see how good Almiron is. A friend of mine is hoping and praying he doesn’t start as he rates him very highly.
“Longstaff has looked so, so impressive but he’s still inexperienced so I’m hoping this is the game where it all starts to go wrong for him!
“Yedlin is a speed merchant but not much else so we need to exploit his side. I also think Diame is a clumsy player and don’t think Lascelles has looked as good this season…although I don’t know a player in our side who would punish any mistake he made!”
“We need to get shots in at Dubravka. I like him but he’s looked very error prone recently. Expects Billing to try his luck if he starts.”
Q4) – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
‘We’ll go for it. We have to!
“I think you’ll keep a good shape and just look to counter us hard as soon as we lose it.
“I’m expecting a good atmosphere and a very tough afternoon to be honest…especially if Almiron starts and you get an early goal.
“Head says 3-0 defeat, heart says 1-1 draw. Pretty grim really!”
Q5) – It’s fair to say both of our clubs are facing a real fight to stay up this season. Which three sides do you see going down & why?
‘We’re gone and I can’t see Fulham pulling off the great escape either.
“Palace will be fine, you’ll be ok thanks to Benitez’s class in moments like this and I also think Burnley will be solid enough to stay up.
“Southampton don’t convince me at either end, Brighton are in a proper mess now if they don’t turn it around quickly but I think it’ll be Cardiff that joins us and Fulham.
“To put it simply, we’re the three worst sides in the league!”
Q6) – If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to go for?‘
“Sadly, I’m now thinking of a player you’ve got who could do a good job for us in the Championship!”
“On that basis, I’d like Gayle or Ritchie, but a more realistic option might be someone like Hayden when we lose Mooy and Billing this summer!”
Q7) – Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be?
“(4-3-3) Dubravka – Yedlin, Lejeune, Schindler, Kongolo – Mooy, Shelvey, Billing – Perez, Rondon, Almiron.
“Good luck for the season fellas! I hope you stay up. Great stadium, great fans and a club who should be doing much better than just surviving each season…especially when you’ve got Rafa!!”
A big thanks to Chris for taking some time this week to speak to us.
He’s obviously resigned to their fate and fearing another defeat but gave us a brilliant insight into the side we’ll be coming up against and also offered some thoughts on Newcastle that I think most Geordies would agree with!
Next up will be the thoughts of a Burnley fan ahead of next weekend’s game at St James’ Park.
(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)