This two week gap is simply further punishment on top of the situation Newcastle fans find themselves in.

Total disaster was averted with Aleksandar Mitrovoc’ late equaliser against Sunderland but that only marginally reduced the stress levels, as the survival chances took a hammering with Norwich beating West Brom on top of United’s failure to win the derby.

Amusing to see how the NUFC PR machine has approached this enforced break.

A charm offensive saw the local press invited in to watch the team train and meet Rafa Benitez – this has predictably led to any number of positive stories in recent days, with Rafa comments eked out to provide countless articles/headlines.

Meanwhile, we saw Danny Blind speaking openly about how Daryl Janmaat being gutted that he had to miss the two Netherlands matches, as he had wanted to put himself in the shop window.

The Dutch boss saying:

“Janmaat really regretted that he had to cancel.

“He wanted to be with Orange (Netherlands squad) as he was dying to be in the spotlight, to attract (potentially) another club in case Newcastle United are actually relegated.”

No surprise then to see the club react and release some Daryl Janmaat quotes to the local media which have been published on Monday, with the usual club line of asking for backing from the fans, Rafa’s great and we can still stay up.

The only two things that fans would be interested in, were not mentioned.

Firstly of course, whether he would be fit to play against Norwich after being forced off against Sunderland with a knee injury.

Secondly, and most interestingly, what Daryl Janmaat had to say about Danny Blind’s comments.

No mention of either and especially with the Blind comments, it just sums up how worthless most reporting is now, with the journalists not able to ask questions that presumably they do still want to ask – but which they can’t, due to the club’s stranglehold on what happens media-wise.

Instead we get the following from Daryl Janmaat via the club through local media:

“We have a top class manager now. We have to believe he can get us to stay in the Premier League.

“He has had a positive effect. It has been organised, the way we played at Leicester and against Sunderland – we have to keep doing that and looking up.

“We feel that we can stay in the Premier League but know we need more wins.

“We have the confidence and we must still believe – I think we can do it.

“The fans seem to believe too – so that is really important, they are going to be vital in the next two months for us.

“It is better to get a point rather than nothing – but it is still a shame we didn’t get the win. We never give up. Now we have to keep moving on and looking forward.”

Daryl Janmaat has seen his form dip recently, which could be largely due to his ongoing knee problem (he dropped out of the Dutch squad earlier this season with the same issue). Plus his body language on the pitch hasn’t looked great – making some fans wondering whether he really wants to be here.

I see him as very similar to Mathieu Debuchy, a decent player who is an asset to Newcastle but not really top class.

Debuchy had a great season and was very popular with supporters before deciding he’d had enough of the Mike Ashley circus and then was called all sorts when he left. He deserved a lot of the stick for the way he publicly made clear before the 2014 World Cup that he was going to leave, with the Arsenal seal concluded afterwards. All a bit comical though to hear fans afterwards saying he was rubbish anyway…

Daryl Janmaat is good going forward but very average at defending, in a better team they would probably use him in a more advantageous way and cover for his defensive deficiencies. Problem is that with such a poor team, when somebody like Janmaat plays well, Newcastle fans go way over the top about him.

Personally, I think he will leave even if Newcastle stay up and I don’t really blame him – I certainly won’t be slagging him off if he does.

The right-back turns 27 in the summer and even if Rafa Benitez is still here and trying to put right the shambles that has accumulated over the years, it will still be some time before the team is in any kind of a healthy state.

Maybe not a bad idea to have as much of a clearout in the summer as possible whatever division Newcastle are in, with Rafa Benitez still in charge I would think cutting as many ties with the past as possible would be a major step forward.