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Our focus is on us - not Newcastle

JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink is preparing his players for tonight’s Championship fixture against Newcastle by insisting they focus on what they are capable of, not what the Magpies can do.

Rafa Benitez’s side are second in the table after four straight wins in the league, and remain the Bookies’ favourites to win promotion following their relegation from the top flight last season.

“Yes, we need to respect them and look at the things they do well, but this is a new game and there are three points at stake,” Hasselbaink told

Newcastle made a tricky start to life in the second tier, losing their opening two matches against Fulham and Huddersfield, but now appear to have settled in the Championship.

“Have they found their feet? I don’t know,” said Hasselbaink. “Obviously there’s a belief in the camp but if you are going to concentrate on Newcastle, you are going to take a lot away from ourselves.

“We are playing at home and we need to think about us, not about them. It doesn’t matter who is in front of us – it is about trying to win the match.”

Tonight’s opponents sold Andros Townsend, Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko during the summer window, but added to their ranks by signing the likes of Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark, Grant Hanley and Matz Sels.

That, accompanied with players who have remained at the club, leaves Benitez with an almost embarrassment of riches in the second tier.

“They have that luxury there, but that can also be a problem,” Hasselbaink said. “But we are happy with what we have got.

“We are not going to place too much emphasis on what they have, or be jealous of what they have. We are looking to match them, take the game to them and try to win the three points.

“We need to use good play, quick play, and be focused and sharp. And we need to be brave and prepared to express ourselves.”

Yeni Ngbakoto (family bereavement) and Joel Lynch (abdomen) are available for selection tonight, while Seb Polter (Glute) and Mass Luongo (ill) are a doubt.

Ben Gladwin, Jamie Mackie and Jack Robinson remain out.

We are playing at home and we need to think about us, not about them.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink