Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Only United Themselves Can Prevent Title Coming to St James' Toon Too Hot to Handle

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Only United Themselves Can Prevent Title Coming to St James' Toon Too Hot to Handle

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@ncjmedia.com @lee_ryder

PERHAPS Newcastle United are the only team who can stop themselves running away with the Championship title this season.

So far this term they have proved they are just too hot to handle when they put their mind to it.

On the evidence of their campaign so far, only a bad attitude, or complacency, or cockiness will prevent them from lifting the Championship trophy come May.

What they have achieved so far is an excellent foundation to build success on.

They are already six points clear of the automatic promotion places and 10 clear of a play-off spot.

Rafa Benitez's team have four more points at the same 15-game stage as they did when they were promoted back in 2010 and three more points in the tried means the first Newcastle to be Lee the bank than last year's champions Burnley did at the same point 12 months ago.

History is suggesting there will only be one winner this term but behind the scenes at Newcastle players are being focused to never look further than the next game.

Talk of titles and promotion in the dressing room is strictly forbidden with 31 games to play but that does not mean the mood behind the scenes is downbeat - in fact, it is the best it has been for years. Another good indication this season bodes well for the Magpies is the fact they quickly move on from setbacks.

Before the game, it could have been suggested losing 11-goal top scorer Dwight Gayle was a major blow to their chances of winning at a tough venue in Deepdale.

Yet this proved to be only a slight dent for Newcastle and they found a different way to take all three points as Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped up to take his chance.

Lilywhites both fair foul in half but refused bullied Ryder Preston was one of the toughest games of the season so far for United but North End fans went home with nothing to shout about on Saturday night. Newcastle are looking like a resilient force in the Championship at the moment and, no matter what Preston tried, they could not prevent the Magpies chalking up a seventh win in a row.

Even Mitrovic admitted after the game the encounter at Deepdale was a match they would have lost 12 months ago. …

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