The latest set of Championship television fixtures have been released for January and two of Newcastle’s matches will be shown on Sky Sports. The Magpies’ trip to Griffin Park to face Brentford has been switched to Monday January 16th with the kick off scheduled for 7:45pm.
However, this could be moved if either club are forced to play an FA Cup third round replay that week. The other match that is scheduled for television is Newcastle’s home match against QPR and that will take place on Wednesday February 1st.
These two matches are in addition to the trip to Blackburn, which has already been selected for television and taking place on Monday January 2nd.
It was always likely that Newcastle would be selected for television often this season as they are a big draw, especially in the Championship. Their record on television this season has been mixed with two wins, one draw and one defeat. It will be interesting how the table looks heading into the New Year as Newcastle do historically struggle in December, but they will hope to establish a big lead at the top by the beginning of 2017.
Matt Ritchie will be suspended for tomorrow’s game against Cardiff and the Scottish winger has been discussing his aggressive streak in an interview to the Chronicle. The winger is whole-hearted and gives his all to the cause, which is why he has immediately struck up a bond with Newcastle supporters. He has his own terrace chant and he is beginning to develop into a fans’ favourite. It was a huge decision for the former AFC Bournemouth winger to drop down from the Premier League, but it is starting to look like a good call as he will be a big part of the new era at St James’ Park.
“I didn’t think the one on Saturday was a yellow card, sometimes they’re given, sometimes they are not. But I’m sure the lads will put in a good performance.”
“We’ve worked hard this week. It’s a massive game and we need to make sure we continue the run that we’re on.”
Ritchie is mature in the comments above as he refuses to complain about the suspension and states his belief in the team to get a positive result without him. It will open up another opportunity for Christian Atsu who has featured in a handful of matches since his loan move from Chelsea. The Ghanaian offers a different threat and his pace could cause problems for an ageing Cardiff defence.
Finally, Newcastle have been criticised in some matches for being conservative and not committing too many men forward. Paul Dummett has said to the Chronicle that the Magpies are prepared to win matches in an ugly fashion this season in the Sky Bet Championship. Sometimes when the side isn’t playing well, players have to dig in to ensure a positive result and that was certainly evident last weekend against Preston.
“The away games have been tough and scrappy and we have probably had to play the way we don’t want to.”
“But it’s the way we have had to play to get the three points, that’s been the priority.”
This shows the effect that Benitez has had since taking over at St James’ Park. The Spaniard has implemented a winning mentality and replaced the poor attitude that infected the squad last season. It is also important to keep the players grounded and ensure they ignore the hype beginning to build in the media. Newcastle finally have a team that can dig in and get positive results, which will stand them in good stead for the future.
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