Magpies boss targets crucial win
Steve Bruce is demanding another strong display from Newcastle to put real daylight between the Magpies and the Premier League's bottom three.
Bruce's side host highflying West Ham just a fortnight after Newcastle ended a poor spell of form with a hard-earned 2-2 draw against another London powerhouse, Tottenham. They followed up that result with a 2-1 success at Burnley, further easing their relegation concerns.
Bruce has a big call to make over forwards Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, who returned from injuries at Turf Moor and came off the bench to inspire Newcastle to a crunch victory.
If we can get a result to go nine points clear before other teams play, it would give everybody a lift.Steve Bruce
The Magpies boss admits that neither player was 100 per cent fit after lengthy layoffs and now he has to decide whether to again use them as impact subs or trust them from the start against the Hammers, who have their sights set on a Champions League place.
If Bruce gets it right and Newcastle can complete a double over West Ham – they won 2-0 at the London Stadium on the opening weekend of the season – it would pile the pressure on Fulham, who visit Arsenal on Sunday.
But the Toon boss says that will only happen if his team can replicate what they did against Tottenham when Arsenal loanee Joe Willock struck late to snatch a priceless point.
"We need to get to the levels we were at the last time at St James' Park against Spurs when we played arguably the best we have all season," Bruce said in his pre-match press conference.
"If we can get a result to go nine points clear before other teams play, it would give everybody a lift."