With five weeks left in the campaign it's "now or never" for Newcastle if they are to escape relegation. Floundering in the second from the bottom spot they welcome Portsmouth to St James' Park Monday evening in dire need for points. Following the weekends action in-which West Brom took a step towards their great escape efforts by defeating Sunderland, a victory by the Magpies would put them within a point of Hull City.
While the media is ripe with clatter of "having the quality" to avoid the drop and other fine sound bites, the club will need to play with a blood-thirsty attitude and not concern itself with commentaries best served for loyal fans. Harsh, yes but many sides feel they have what it "takes" to avoid relegation but equally find out in final days of the season they just didn't put their claret on the line.
For Newcastle the test will require a more aggressive approach then in the past. While the club has went forward with logical tactic's as you enter the final month with a need to make up considerable points, caution needs to be thrown aside as you entire attacking mode. The route to safety will most likely come through success within the confines of St James' Park as they have three winnable matches, Portsmouth on Monday with both Middlesbrough and Fulham. Certainly not "easy" tests given 'Boro is equally fighting for safety and Fulham is bearing down on European football but it is significantly more appetizing than their visits to Anfield and Villa Park.
All hands are on-deck for Alan Shearer, with the only possible exceptions behind Steven Taylor and Joey Barton. Barring a major injury it is time to grit the teeth and be available if the call is made and equally the Toon Army must rise up in voracious support.