Newcastle beat Cardiff 2-1 back in November and Neil Warnock caused a bit of a stir.
Two first half goals from Atsu and Gouffran sent NUFC in 2-0 up at half-time, then they coasted a bit in the second-half and a Whittingham goal in the 77th minute meant a more nervous final 13 minutes than it should have been.
This was a seventh Championship victory in a row for Rafa Benitez’ team but the Cardiff boss chose to come out with comments that grabbed the headlines.
Both Newcastle and Brighton had played 16 games and the Magpies went three points clear of the Seagulls on fireworks night but Neil Warnock claimed Newcastle weren’t the best team in the Championship.
Instead, the Cardiff boss declared that Chris Hughton had the superior first eleven, though also acknowledging Newcastle United had the best squad.
For all he can be annoying, maybe Warnock had a point, as both clubs have been promoted but Newcastle trailing by four points with two games to go and needing Brighton to slip up.
Neil Warnock says he was pleased to see Newcastle win and get promotion on Monday night against Preston, as it ‘adds more spice to’ Friday’s match.
Cardiff City officials have announced that they expect Newcastle fans to set a new record for away supporters in a domestic game at the Cardiff City stadium which opened in 2009, with up to 4,500 expected to travel.
Warnock says the ‘Geordies will be coming to celebrate’ and he hopes his team ‘can put one over on them’.
Obviously, you like to win any game but it is a massive relief to at last be able to look forward to a match without that small doubt at the back of your mind and with still the possibility of going up as champions to aim for.
Hopefully the Newcastle players as well can play with a bit more freedom and put on a bit of a show.
“It’s all building up now till the end of the season and thankfully I don’t have to worry about anything other than next season. We just have pride at stake. We need to put a good performance on in front of the TV cameras.
“With Newcastle coming it’s a game that whets the appetite. It will be a good crowd and the Geordies will be coming to celebrate. Hopefully we can put one over on them.
“I was delighted they won on Monday because it adds more spice to our game. That’s what I was hoping for really.
“I don’t think I need this Newcastle game to be a barometer (of how well or not Cardiff are doing). Since I’ve been here I don’t think there’s been one game we couldn’t have won.
“I look at differences in other teams, we had a period of sloppy goals, we had a period of mistakes at the back, and a period of not being able to score. Those three things, if we can improve on those, which I think we can, there are a lot more points we could have had this season, let alone next. It’s about tidying up our own house, putting our own house in order.
“I will imagine we’ll be mid-table bookies-wise next year because there will be some big teams, big clubs, and it will be difficult to get into that top area but that’s what we’ve got to strive for.
First of all to get into that top 10, then the top six – that’s why I’m here, to have an opportunity like that.”