Chronicles

Steve Bruce sets his side tough target of bettering last season’s points tally

Steve Bruce has set his side an ambitious target of beating last season’s point tally or finishing higher than 13th in the table.

With six games to go Newcastle would need to find a rich vein of form and hope that the likes of Wolves and Aston Villa crumble above them but the two Midlands sides have strong leads over the Magpies as it stands.

But Bruce has been buoyed by back to back wins, and if they can pick up a surprise result or two against the top sides, and beat Sheffield United and Fulham in the last two games they have a chance of matching last term’s 44-point haul.

Bruce said today: “We had an awful time just after Christmas but very slowly we’ve done OK in the past few weeks.

“We’ve got better but that has come alongside the big players coming back.

“I want us to finish above where we finished last year.

“We have lost one of our past seven games and are starting to show that bit of consistency.”

Bruce refused to state on the record that Newcastle were safe but did map out the rest of the campaign.

He said: “I’m not going to take anything for granted. I’ve always said it’s the accumulation of points, and 35, in my opinion, is not enough, so you won’t get me jumping and hollering at the moment.

“We’ve still got six games to play – can we finish above where we did last year? Can we beat last year’s points tally? (44). Can we beat where we were? (13th). We’ll try our utmost.”

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