Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has set his players a new end-of-year target to take just three points from our remaining Premier League fixtures of the decade.
The club begin our final run of 2019 by hosting Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, before our festive schedule takes the Toon to Manchester United on Boxing Day and sees Everton travel to the North East two days later.
Everton are the only side currently in the bottom-half of the Premier League standings we are still to face in 2019, with the Toffees mired in a season of despair that led to the sacking of manager Marco Silva on December 5.
We, on the other hand, can climb up into the top-half by Saturday evening if Bruce’s men can overcome the challenge of ninth-placed Crystal Palace, and extend our unbeaten streak at St. James’ Park to eight games.
Doing so will also match Bruce’s revised target for the end of 2019, having taken a moment to reflect on his first months in charge of the Magpies.
“If we can get up to 25 points before the turn of the year, we’ll have given ourselves a decent platform,” Bruce said, via quotes by the Shields Gazette.
“It’s important then we build on that in the second-half of the season. There are still 14 clubs looking over their shoulder, it would be nice to look the other way.”
Has Bruce met your expectations?
Bruce’s ambition of only taking three more points from a possible nine is an underwhelming target to aim for, but is also a sign of the success he has overseen at St. James’ Park that he feels three more points would be enough to be considered a solid return.
The club could have been slogging it out near the relegation places along with last season’s 11th-placed finishers Watford, 10th-placed West Ham United, plus Southampton and promoted sides Norwich City and Aston Villa. But instead, we find ourselves on the cusp of the top-half and with the joint-sixth most wins in the Premier League after 17 games.
Our home form has also been terrific since the opening day defeat to Arsenal – when we could have taken something to show for our efforts had we displayed greater accuracy with our late flurry forwards – with no side coming to St. James’ Park and taking all three points, even when our performances have been below par – the Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford games, for example.
Bruce still has some work to do before his position in the dugout is lauded by all corners of the fanbase, like resolve our inconsistent away form, but to be in a position where three more points is deemed a success is no small accomplishment.
In other Newcastle United news, the Toon have been credited with an interest in an £18million man likely set to be sold in January.
This article was originally posted here