Writer: Site Staff
Date:Tuesday March 24 2009
John Barnes, pundit for the New Football Pools says Middlesbrough and Newcastle need to show battling quality fast.
'The relegation battle is heating up with Middlesbrough looking in a very difficult position following their defeat at Stoke. Gareth Southgate`s team are really struggling at the moment but like their North-East rivals Newcastle they have enough quality to get out of this situation.
Both sides have to be more ruthless in their remaining games as both have missed excellent opportunities in the last few games which has cost them dear. The problem for both sides is that they possess more quality in their ranks than the likes of Stoke but teams like that have more strength and power to deal with this type of situation. Every member of the side needs to show they are up for a battle and with games running out, each one gains more importance. You can`t afford any passengers at the time of the season with so much at stake.
Newcastle created enough chances against Arsenal to get something out of the game but missed the opportunity. A lot has been made of Michael Owen not starting the match but manager`s have to make decisions regarding the fitness of players and I`m sure Michael will play an important role in the club`s struggle against relegation. Even without him, Newcastle should have enough about them to escape but with games running out, they need wins and fast.
It won`t be easy for either side to go on a run but with West Brom looking dead and buried it could be any two of 8 teams joining them. It would take a brave man to predict which of those sides will join the Baggies but with time running out Boro and Newcastle need points and they need them badly.'
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Date:Tuesday March 24 2009
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