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Q&A inför Newcastle hemma

Efter veckans Super League-protester är det äntligen dags för lite fotboll igen, i morgon kommer Newcastle till Anfield för en match som vi måste vinna för att ha en chans att hänga med i kampen om CL-platserna. Jake Jackmann(@JakeJackmann) berättar här om hur det varit att följa skatorna den här säsongen:

1. We are entering the final part of the season, how do you rate your performances this season?
It has been a poor season really, as we have been impacted by Covid and the results haven’t been good enough. During the international break, I was convinced we would go down, but we have managed to pull out three good results which should see us stay up. It isn’t good enough just to stay up, but in the circumstances, I guess it has to be considered a success

2. Do you think Steve Bruce Will be your manager when next season starts?
I think it depends on a lot of things. Supporters want him to be sacked regardless of recent results. He isn’t good enough to be a Premier League manager and by keeping him, we would be in danger of another relegation battle. If supporters are coming back to the ground next season, I’d be surprised if he lasted longer than September

3. How has covid-19 affected your season?
It definitely impacted our season when we had an outbreak. We lost Lascelles and Saint-Maximin for a long period and others were impacted. It led to the start of our very poor run. It’s also hurt not to have supporters in the ground. If we did have fans, Steve Bruce wouldn’t be in a job.

4. Which players have impressed you the most for Newcastle this season?
Saint-Maximin and Wilson continue to be the most impressive players. Both are good enough to play for better teams, but I guess the injury risks will keep them with us for at least another season. Joe Willock has been really impressive since coming in on loan and there are rumours we may be able to keep him, which would be a great move by the club. Jacob Murphy has been a surprise, as he has developed a lot during his loan spells and now looks like a Premier League player.

5. The owner situation is, as always, a special subject when it comes to Newcastle. Are there any hope of getting away from Mike Ashley in near future?
Yep, it’s the most important question, as Newcastle are doomed to be in this cycle until there is a change of ownership. The rumoured Saudi takeover is still in progress, with Mike Ashley currently in arbitration with the Premier League over some issues in the deal. If he manages to succeed, there could be a takeover this summer, but it has dragged on too long for me to believe it will happen. He definitely wants to sell and I’m sure he won’t be the owner in two or three years time, but it may be a long goodbye.

6. How is the current injury situation?
We have a few big injuries, with Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles out injured. Both are starters when fit. Fabian Schar is close to a return, while Saint-Maximin and Wilson are now fit to start matches. I’d be surprised if both don’t start at Anfield.

7. What kind of game do you expect against Liverpool?
It’s not as intimidating as it has been in previous seasons. I think we will set up with deep block as we have done in big matches for years now. However, we are now a little bit more progressive and we do get higher up the pitch. There is now a more consistent counter-attacking threat, which hasn’t always been there. Given your defensive issues, I’d expect Wilson and Saint-Maximin both to play a big part. You should have enough to win, but it won’t be as easy a match as it has been in the last couple of years.

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