Red-hot Newcastle targeting a perfect 10

Date published: Friday 25th November 2016 11:52

Rafa Benitez

Sky Bet Championship leaders Newcastle can set a new club record when they face struggling Blackburn at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies sit five points clear at the top of the table and victory over Rovers would make it 10 wins in a row in all competitions, surpassing the mark reached by Kevin Keegan’s team in 1994.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles played down the significance of the run, telling the Chronicle: “We don’t see it as nine in a row. We just see it as ‘we need to get ready for the next game’.¬†We don’t look at the teams around us. We can’t affect that.

“We’re going to train as we normally do. We’re very professional. We look forward to training. By game day, we’ve got our game heads on. Everyone’s raring to go.”

Blackburn are in the bottom three but will head to the north-east boosted by a victory over Brentford last time out.

Boss Owen Coyle said on the club website: “For us it is a brilliant game to look forward to. To go there and show that Blackburn Rovers are a decent team.

“It is a game that if we are at our best then we are more than capable of getting a positive result.”

Second-placed Brighton face Fulham boosted by the recruitment of former Cardiff boss Paul Trollope as assistant manager.

Trollope previously worked with manager Chris Hughton at Birmingham and Norwich.

Hughton told a press conference: “He’s an obvious choice for me because he’s somebody that I’ve worked very closely with in the past. The timing has worked out very well and it’s a transition that will be very smooth.”

It is a meeting of two in-form sides, with Brighton having won four of their last five games and Fulham taking seven points from a possible nine.

Norwich chairman Ed Balls stressed this week that manager Alex Neil’s job is not under threat despite four straight defeats.

The Canaries, who are still in the top six, travel to Derby on Saturday.

“He knows he’s got the backing of the board,” Balls told BBC Radio Norfolk.

“We’ve worked with him very closely for a couple of years, we know his quality, we know his integrity and determination and we know he can do it.”

At the bottom of the table, Rotherham already look cut adrift but will be highly motivated to put on a good performance against Yorkshire rivals Leeds.

The Millers, who are 11 points behind Cardiff in 21st place, have taken just one point from their last 10 games.

Goalkeeper Lee Camp told the club website: “They’re always good games to play in.

“Local rivalries mean that bragging rights are at stake but from our point of view it’s another opportunity to try to overcome this period that we’re in and get three points on the board.”

In other fixtures on Saturday, third-placed Reading host Bristol City, Birmingham visit Brentford, Sheffield Wednesday travel to Wolves, Preston face Burton, Ipswich meet QPR and Cardiff travel to Aston Villa.

Monday’s match sees struggling Wigan visit promotion-chasing Huddersfield.

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