Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow is adamant their Premier League survival remains on course, with the goalkeeper refusing to bow to the pressure of the relegation scrap.
The Magpies extended a difficult run of form to just one win in 12 Premier League games with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Brighton at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Rafael Benitez’s men have collected just five of the last 36 points they have contested and are without a home win in six attempts, a return which has left them a single point clear of the drop zone ahead of Monday’s trip to fellow strugglers Stoke.
However Darlow, who returned to the firing line at the weekend with Rob Elliot injured, is confident the squad’s fate remains in their own hands.
He said: “We have stayed fairly positive throughout. We have been through a bad patch, but that can happen in the Premier League with the quality you are up against.
“It is important for the fans to remain positive and stay with us. We know that if we keep picking up points, then we’ll be in a good place.”
The 3-2 win at West Ham in their last away fixture represents Newcastle’s only three-point haul since they beat Crystal Palace on October 21, but a repeat of that at the Bet365 Stadium would complete a double following a 2-1 home victory over the Potters on September 16.
Darlow said: “It will be tough – Stoke away is never easy is it? It’s one of those games that we need to mentally prepare for.
“It’s two days away, but we are professional and we have to make sure we are fit and ready to go for that. We have to be in the best possible shape to go there and get three points.”
Benitez and his players will head for Staffordshire having failed in their mission to collect the three points they craved against Brighton three days after opting for damage limitation against Manchester City.
They did, however, emerge with a point – something they have now managed on only four occasions this season – and that was a positive for Darlow.
He said: “Their goalie made a couple of great saves and on another day, we’d come away with three points. It’s positive that we kept a clean sheet and looked defensively sound.
“Come the end of the season, this could be a massive point. As long as we keep doing that here and there, we will win games.”