You might have seen one or two people mentioning this year how much Newcastle United spent last summer…
The lazy reporting ignored the fact that Rafa Benitez was left with little choice, after more than a full team of players left St James Park after demanding moves or simply being way below the standard needed. Both in terms of ability and attitude.
However, rival boss Simon Grayson has taken a different view.
The Preston Manager judging that Rafa Benitez has done a great job in bringing in the right players to cope with the Championship and (hopefully) get out of it.
Simon Grayson also points to the even more impressive statistic, that not only has Rafa Benitez built a team fit for purpose, he also balanced the books.
In fact, the latest accounts when made public by companies house, showed that Rafa had generated a £40m profit on transfers in his time at Newcastle so far.
It remains to be seen what kind of team selection Rafa Benitez goes with, his team played Leeds off the pitch but couldn’t quite turn that superiority into the goals it deserved, only to change half the team for a game in quick succession against Ipswich, where United were abysmal.
Dwight Gayle could be available, along with Ciaran Clark, but interesting to see if Mitrovic gets a game.
He wasn’t brilliant but was a lot better against Leeds than he has been and his season did peak when scoring four goals in the space of a few days against Preston back in October. Two in the 6-0 League Cup hammering and both when winning 2-1 at Deepdale.
Grayson thinks Preston dominated the second half of that Deepdale match and deserved something from it – only for a quality defensive display to keep the home side at bay – apart from a very late unfortunate Lascelles own goal.
Just maybe getting Clark back in alongside Lascelles can be the key factor in getting Newcastle across this promotion line at last.
Let’s hope so.
“We always knew that this was going to be a tough month.
“We don’t want to undermine the good work we have done all season by finishing in a poor manner.
“Regardless of what Newcastle can do and what they can achieve, we are going there to perform better than we have done recently.
“I think Rafa Benítez has got players in to cope with the Championship and know how to get out of it.
“People will say they have spent a lot of money but they have replaced people they have lost for large sums and balanced the books.
“It has gone a long way to getting them back in the Premiership but we want to do something about that.
“Hopefully my players will go out and make it as uncomfortable a night as possible for the Newcastle players.
“I think second half (when Newcastle won 2-1 at Deepdale) we absolutely dominated the game without getting anything out of it.
“It is going to be a different type of game at St James Park with their fifty thousand fans cheering them on.
“They need the points to get over the line and get back into the Premiership but we will take heart from what we have done and the good results we have had throughout the season.
“The players have to show determination to be better and harder to beat than they have in the last three games.”