Newcastle head to the seaside today looking to turn the tide of an inconsistent season. Stuart Rayner talks to Mike Williamson
IN front of a packed St James’ Park, Newcastle United provided yet another reminder they can live with best this week. It is the rest they struggle with.
Manchester United’s serene progress towards a record 19th championship stumbled on Tuesday, held to a 0-0 draw by the Magpies. The Red Devils were in good company. Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton – all have come a cropper against Newcastle this season. Yet Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Aston Villa and today’s opponents Blackpool have milked them for victories.
A trip to Bloomfield Road this afternoon will put them under the microscope. Their last visit to a ground smaller than Carlisle United’s was not a happy occasion – not for them at least – Brett Ormerod and Jason Euell putting the Championship big boys in their place.
With the sun shining and top-flight safety secure, Newcastle’s fans could be forgiven for having their minds more on candy floss and Kiss Me Quick hats when they pitch up at the Las Vegas of the North. The worry is the players might also be metaphorically on the Golden Mile. It is a fear Mike Williamson shares, even if the centre-back admits he can also be guilty of dropping his standards when the pressure is off.
“It’ll be a difficult match for Blackpool potentially, but it’s important we approach it with the same mentality as Manchester United,” he says. “We can’t take our foot off the gas, as has been the case at times this season. We’ve shown time and time again that when we get the mentality right, we can beat anyone.
“We need to play with the same tempo we did last Tuesday. It’s all about how we approach the game.