Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: Target Is to Stay Up - Duff; PREMIER LEAGUE

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: Target Is to Stay Up - Duff; PREMIER LEAGUE

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE winger Damien Duff insists his team-mates and fans must accept that the first target for the season is to ensure Premier League survival.

A 4-1 defeat away to Aston Villa on Saturday left the Magpies just six points above the drop zone, and the Republic of Ireland international admits there is cause for concern.

"We are in a fight. We have got a tough run-in," he said.

"Relegation hasn't been mentioned in team-talks because we are trying to stay positive. But anyone who has got half a brain can see we need to pick up points, and the sooner the better."

Newcastle do not play again until February 23 and Duff insists: "We have got a lot of work to do.

"It's probably a good thing we haven't got a game as it gives us two weeks to work on the training ground."

SUNDERLAND defender Danny Collins admits the prospect of reeling in arch-rivals Newcastle cannot be allowed to get in the way of their fight for Premier League survival.

The Black Cats took a major stride towards safety on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Wigan which eased them into 14th in the table while fellow strugglers Fulham, Bolton, Derby and Reading were all beaten. …

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