Eddie Howe has warned Newcastle the fight for Premier League survival will go all the way to the wire.
The Magpies have given their hopes of avoiding the drop a major boost in recent weeks with a six-game unbeaten run, including three wins, which has hoisted them out of the drop zone.
However, Burnley’s back-to-back victories over Brighton and Tottenham and recent wins for Norwich and Watford have seen the strugglers reel in the sides immediately above them to significantly increase the size of the field.
Howe, whose men head for Brentford on Saturday, said: “It’s going to go right to the end of the season in the sense of the relegation battle. The fight to stay in the league I think, will go to the wire.
“From our side, we have to take care of our own business, and that is consistently winning games or consistently getting points and trying to push ourselves and elevate ourselves away from danger.
“But if we think it’s going to be given to us by the other teams, that’s absolutely not going to happen. This is the hardest league in the world for a reason and we’re going to have to fight for every point.
“Our destiny is still in our own hands, and that’s where we want it and that’s where we have to do our business first.”
Newcastle will run out sitting two points above the drop zone and knowing victory would see them leapfrog the Bees, who have taken just a single point from their last seven league games to slip into the mire.
They provided the opposition in Howe’s first game as Magpies head coach back in November when it took a late Allan Saint-Maximin equaliser to deny them victory on Tyneside on a frustrating afternoon for the 44-year-old as he looked on from afar having tested positive for Covid-19.
He said: “That was one of the worst 90 minutes – or 95 minutes – of my football life because I was powerless to control a game that was so important.”
Newcastle will hope to have Saint-Maximin back among the fold this weekend after he missed last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham because of a calf injury, prompting the club to send him to Monaco for intensive treatment this week.
Howe said: “We felt that was the quickest way to get him fit, so he’s in a very good place mentally and he’s very eager to return.”
If Saint-Maximin’s return would provide his team with a boost, Christian Eriksen’s presence in the Brentford squad following his recovery from a cardiac arrest on the pitch while on Euro 2020 duty with Denmark would put a smile on the face of the entire football family.
Howe said: “It would be great to see him back on a football pitch. From our side, during the game, we can have no emotion towards that, we all have to concentrate on our jobs.
“But certainly it’s great to see him fit and healthy and enjoying his football again.”