DANNY Simpson says each game for Newcastle must now be treated as a mini cup final if they are to make this season count, writes Miles Starforth.
And he’s warned that Saturday’s opponents Everton will be hurting after their shock FA Cup defeat in midweek, one player in particular – his former team-mate Phil Neville.
Simpson knows Everton captain Neville from their time together at Manchester United.
Neville has had more highs than lows at Goodison Park since leaving Old Trafford for regular first-team football.
However, Everton have struggled this season and the club’s campaign took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Reading.
Moyes’s position has even been questioned, despite his achievements at the club on a tight budget and his team travel to St James’s Park tomorrow in desperate need of a result to lift their flagging campaign.
And Simpson knows Neville, as he does every game, will be leading by example.
“He’s obviously moved on to Everton and if anything, his career’s took off,” Simpson said.
“I know he won a lot of medals at United and had a good time, but he’s gone there and his career’s gone even better.
“I know what he’s like, he’ll come here wanting to get a win – I know the type of guy he is – but we’ll take confidence from the way we played (against Bolton) and I’m sure it’ll be a good game.”
Ninth-placed Newcastle are three points ahead of Everton and a win could lift them into seventh if other results go their way.
While manager Alan Pardew is keen for his side to have an “impact” on the top-half of the table between now and the end of the season, his players are also mindful they’ve not yet secured their top-flight status for another year.
Simpson went on: “We’ve got to go game by game – the league’s so tight, it could go either way.
“The main thing now is that we’re hard to beat. That’s the thing we’ve worked on and we can go into any game and beat anyone.
“We’ve got another home game and we’d like to take advantage of that, get some points and climb the table, but the main thing’s to take it game by game.
“You can’t take anything for granted, or sit back and think we’re safe. If you do, after two or three bad results, you’re sucked down there.
“The mentality of our group, with the gaffer here, is to treat every game like a cup final.
“We’ve got to go into them with full preparation – we’ve got to be on our game.”