Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match, Leighton Baines says that he thinks Steve McClaren has turned things around and Newcastle are a side growing in confidence.

Let’s hope he is right on both counts, including after playing Everton.

The left-back also makes a curious comment, describing Newcastle United as a ‘tough club to manage’.

It is amazing the number of neutrals who make strong statements about our club and the fans, everybody appears to have a view on what goes on at St James Park and not many sit on the fence.

I would love to hear WHY Leighton Baines thinks Newcastle are a tougher club to manage than many in the Premier League; supposed fan expectations, Mike Ashley, big crowds, not winning a trophy in nearly 50 years, a mad transfer policy, the list is endless…

This Boxing Day match should be a good guide as to whether Newcastle have really turned a corner, or whether the wins over Liverpool and Spurs will prove just a small spike amongst the debris of this season.

An excellent result (3-2) and fightback last season after conceding an early goal – I’d settle for more more of the same (minus their early goal).

Leighton Baines speaking to the Everton website:

“Newcastle have started to look like they are turning things around after a tough spell but we will go up there and be prepared for a side whose confidence is growing. They have had some decent results lately.

“I haven’t worked under Steve McLaren in my career but I know he is a good manager.

“Newcastle had that difficult spell and I am sure he would have been frustrated with that, they’re a tough club to manage but he has turned it round.

“But we go up there trying to make his job that little bit harder and come away with a win.

Scoring at St James Park:

 “It was certainly one of my better goals (scored a long range screamer in 2-1 win three seasons ago at SJP) – at the same time it was a bit of a hit and hope really wasn’t it?

“I put my foot through it and it went in so there was not much finesse involved!”