TIM Krul has attempted to lift the gloom around Newcastle United by declaring: “We’ve still got an awful lot to play for this season.”
The Magpies are in the midst of their worst run since returning to the Premier League in 2010, a sequence of six defeats in seven having seen them slump to 15th in the table.
A daunting-looking festive schedule has the potential to plunge Alan Pardew’s men further in to the top-flight mire, but that, argues Krul, is a pessimist’s view.
Instead, the Dutchman (pictured) chooses to take a broader look at the state of affairs on Tyneside, issuing a reminder of just how good a campaign it could yet prove to be.
“We’re still in there – the season doesn’t end in December,” the Newcastle keeper said, ahead of Saturday’s visit of second-bottom Queens Park Rangers.
“I’ve looked at the league table and there are a lot of teams just five or six points away from us.
“We just need that little run to get ourselves back up there. It’s only a couple of wins we’re talking about.
“QPR is a must-win for us though. This one is massive.”
Krul is also quick to point out that progression in the Europa League has also been secured – indeed, United discover their last-32 fate later today.
And, with an FA Cup third round trip to Championship club Brighton also on the horizon, the 24-year-old sees yet more reason for optimism.
“Our aim at the start of the season was to get through Europe, make sure we book our place in the last 32,” he went on.
“We did that and we’ve also got the FA Cup coming up as well, so there’s am awful lot to play for this season.”
Newcastle, however, did stutter around this same period 12 months ago, a fact of which Krul in mindful.
“This is a really important time of the year with the amount of games in a short period,” he added.
“We have to make sure we don’t have a dip like we did last year.
“Get a little run through this period and things could look very bright going in to the new year.”
H Newcastle’s hopes of landing a festive win at Arsenal were dealt a blow by the news that the Gunners’ game on Boxing Day has been postponed.
Arsenal were due to play West Ham on Wednesday, but it has been called off due to proposed industrial action on the tube.
It means that Arsene Wenger’s men will have a full week off before hosting Alan Pardew’s side on December 29, whereas the Magpies must play Manchester United on Boxing Day.
The Arsenal-Hammers game has been rescheduled for January 23 or, if both clubs are out of the FA Cup, January 26.