Harper - We must move on
Steve Harper says Newcastle must forget last season's relegation if they are to achieve promotion.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 19/06/09 2:15pm
Steve Harper knows that if Newcastle are to stand any chance of getting out of the Championship they must first put last season's relegation behind them.
The Magpies, currently managerless with owner Mike Ashley reluctant to appoint anyone while he tries to sell the club, are set to report back for pre-season on 1st July as they bid to regain their Premier League status at the first time of asking.
However their goalkeeper knows that the players must shake off any lingering disappointment from last season if they are to escape England's second tier.
"We can't reflect on last season now - that's gone," Harper told the Newcastle Chronicle.
"It's done, and it was done as soon as the final whistle went at Aston Villa.
"At Villa Park it was a dreadful situation. But it's done now and we have to look onwards and upwards."
The fixture list has handed the Magpies a difficult start to the season, with the club to travel to West Brom on the opening day.
"It looks like they are going to have a new manager, as we will hopefully," he added.
"It's the toughest start. West Brom will be one of the favourites, along with ourselves.
"That's the last away game we won, so hopefully we can do the same. Hopefully we can do the double over them again.
"It will be tough, but it's a fantastic football ground to start at. The Hawthorns is a great place - their fans will serve up a great atmosphere, and I am sure ours will too.
"It would be nice to get off to the best start."
Harper also understands that following relegation Newcastle will become a big scalp to claim amongst other Championship sides.
"We'll be a scalp," he pointed out. "The big club going down will be a cup final for everybody.
"Everywhere we go, we have to make sure we are up for it. It's going to be a massive challenge. Everybody I have spoken to says how tough it is.
"You have two games a week and everybody is fighting to get into the Premier League - and that's what we have to do."