Saturday 26 May 2018

James warning for Magpies

Matty James wants to aid Leicester's survival prospects while damaging Newcastle's own hopes
Matty James wants to aid Leicester's survival prospects while damaging Newcastle's own hopes

Matty James warned Newcastle that Leicester are ready to return to winning ways and drag them further into relegation trouble.

The Foxes host the Magpies on Saturday after their four-game winning run was ended by Chelsea on Wednesday.

The 3-1 defeat left them a point above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

A fine performance, despite defeat, was overshadowed by Nigel Pearson calling journalist Ian Baker an "ostrich" and "stupid" after he was asked to clarify what criticism of his players had upset him this season, although the boss has since apologised.

Leicester will move just a point behind Newcastle, who have lost their last seven games, with a win and James insists the Foxes will take the game to the visitors.

"It is another big game but for the past three or four weeks every game has been a cup final," the midfielder told the Leicester Mercury.

"We have come out and prevailed and hopefully we can do it again against Newcastle. They are right in it again and they know they will come here and be in for a very tough game.

"We will still bring the same intensity on Saturday, without doubt. The adrenalin will kick in and the amount that is at stake will get us through it. We have a great set-up in terms of recovery. All the sports scientists will look after us and we kick on again on Saturday.

"It was another plucky performance against Chelsea but the situation is exactly the same. We just have to get on with it.

"They had three chances and took all three. We were in the game all through and showed a lot of character.

"We didn't sit back, we just played our own game, as we have been doing for the past few weeks. We will continue to do that.

"It was high intensity in the first half and we frustrated them. They were probably shocked by the problems we caused them."

Robert Huth (calf) and Andy King (hamstring) are major doubts for Leicester while David Nugent (calf) is out, but Jeff Schlupp (calf) is available.

Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko is available after his return from suspension.

The Frenchman has sat out the last two games following his second dismissal of the season at Liverpool on April 13, and his presence in the squad could hardly be more timely with the Magpies having lost each of their last seven games.

Sissoko could be joined by defender Paul Dummett following his recovery from a knee problem, while midfielder Siem de Jong, who scored on his return as a substitute against Swansea last weekend after an eight-month lay-off, got 90 minutes under his belt for the club's Under-21s on Tuesday.

Newcastle head coach John Carver has set his players a four-point target to secure their Premier League status.

The Magpies head for in-form Leicester on Saturday having been marooned on 35 points since February 28, seven fruitless games ago, and although that at one stage looked to be comfortably beyond the clubs battling for survival at the foot of the table, it now appears that will not be the case.

Carver said: "We need four points. That's what's in my head at the moment. Leicester had four wins in the row, Sunderland did that last year, so you've got to set the bar a bit higher.

"There are one or two tough games for the sides at the bottom, so four points would be ample."

Collecting those four points from as many remaining fixtures against the Foxes and West Brom and West Ham at home either side of a trip to struggling QPR, might not sound particularly taxing.

However, Newcastle having managed to take only nine in total from the 45 they have contested under Carver's charge, and they need a drastic improvement in that situation if they are to steer themselves into calmer waters.

By contrast, Pearson's men have put together a blistering run with Wednesday night's home defeat by champions-in-waiting Chelsea ending a sequence of four successive wins which dragged a series of other clubs into the fight against the drop.

Carver said: "Absolutely, and let's include ourselves in that. I said this two weeks ago. I said two weeks ago we were in a scrap and a fight, and we are, and we know that and the players know that.

"If they want to retain their Premier League status, they've got to do something about it, we've got to do something about it."

Press Association

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