Keegan sets survival target
Magpies ready for relegation scrap
Kevin Keegan is hoping that his Newcastle side can win the 'mini-league' at the bottom of the Premier League table.
The Magpies are yet to pick up a win since the former England manager returned for a second spell at St James' Park, and have now lost nine of their last 13 top flight games.
They are precariously perched just three points above the relegation zone and find themselves in a battle to avoid the drop along with nine other sides.
However, with games against fellow strugglers Birmingham, Fulham, Reading and Sunderland to come in the next few weeks, their manager has challenged them to defy the doom-mongers and instead focus on picking up as many points as possible between now and the end of the season.
"Regardless of what people say, whether you are at the top of the table or the bottom of the table, you do look at other people's results," he said.
"But the one thing you have always got to focus on is your own. It's no good keeping looking and saying, 'They haven't won a game,' or 'They have drawn there,' if you are not winning games yourself.
"We have talked to the players this week about this being a nine-game season now.
'There are nine games left, these are the fixtures, these are the ones we have at home, these are the ones we have away and this is what we expect of you'.
"We are trying to focus on winning the league we are in down at the bottom."
Keegan accepts that a club the size of Newcastle should not be fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table, but insists that while they are still down there he will be doing all he can to steer them away from danger.
"We are a big club, we are in a position a lot of people think we shouldn't be in, but the reality is that we are there," said Keegan, who also had a spell as a player with the club.
"We will be looking for a lot of character, a lot of strength and a lot of team-work, getting together and making sure as a unit we are hard to beat.
"If we do that, with the ability we have, we won't have a problem."