For some months now, the response of Rafa Benitez when asked about various milestones and stages of this Newcastle United season, has been ever so consistent.

The Newcastle Manager repeatedly insisting that nothing would be decided until April.

Rafa Benitez pointing out that with clubs having seven (in Huddersfield’s case, eight) matches in only 30 days at the sharp end of the season, that’s when there would be the definitive sorting out.

He wasn’t wrong, with 21 points still to play for (plus another three on the final day of the season in May) in April, so much could change.

Looking back to last season and it was a similar scenario, with there also being seven Championship matches for clubs to play in April 2016.

It sums up this nightmare of a division, not a moment to relax with so many matches coming so quickly.

Last season Brighton were caught in the final strides, failing to win either of their final two matches and losing out on automatic promotion to Middlesbrough.

Hopefully Newcastle will for once ‘choose’ a nice boring three or four quick wins and put the issue to bed well before we see the end of April.

Recent form has shown all of the top seven feeling the pressure, with Leeds managing 12 points from the last six games and nobody else gathering more than 10.

This is where quality on and off the pitch has to count for Newcastle United.

As a teaser, the Premier League announced this week that next season’s fixtures will be released on Wednesday 14 June, with games kicking off on the weekend of Saturday 12 August.

A bit like the old Keegan burgers they served outside the match, you can almost smell it…