Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Saturday at St James Park.
Going with the flow, he has gone with the same prediction as pretty much every other pundit/’expert’.
Mark Lawrenson going with a 1-1 draw and both Newcastle and Stoke coming away with a point.
The BBC pundit states the obvious, that consecutive Premier League victories will have ‘lifted the mood and confidence’ at Newcastle United ‘after a difficult start’.
The Swansea game/result has been a bit of a game-changer though as well, in terms of how people are looking at Newcastle now.
You can tell that the likes of Mark Lawrenson are wondering, whether Rafa Benitez has indeed worked a relative miracle and Newcastle will be competing with all of those clubs outside of the obvious handful at the top, with every position from 7th to 20th to play for.
That is all fans really hoped for this season, that Newcastle would have a team that could go out and give most clubs a game.
Despite the obstacles in his way (especially the very large Mike Ashley one), Rafa Benitez looks to very possibly have put together a team/squad that looks solid and most importantly, also capable of creating chances and scoring goals.
Two big matches coming up now against Stoke and Brighton, with the realistic aim of at least two points from this pair of matches.
Obviously we would all love more than that and it could well happen, beating Stoke would of course instantly give us more than the two points and also the massive bonus of really setting us up for that game at Brighton.
Mark Lawrenson thinks ‘Stoke will be a much tougher test’ than Newcastle’s last two opponents but then he and others were saying that before Swansea last weekend.
It won’t be easy but if the players are once again as disciplined and up for it as they were against West Ham and Swansea, then we can have no complaints.
We may still lose but having a team going out capable of giving the opposition a decent game and potentially winning, is all you can ask for.
Not many times I have said this in my life, if ever, but really looking forward to seeing Newcastle play Stoke!
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Newcastle’s last two results – wins against West Ham and the Swans – will have lifted the mood and confidence at the club after a difficult start.
“Stoke will be a much tougher test than either of those teams, though.
“The Potters gave Manchester United a good game last weekend and showed again that they are hard to beat.