MAG­PIES ARE STILL ON THE UP

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

RAFA Ben­itez would never say it – the tac­i­turn Spa­niard rarely says much – but Newcastle’s play­ers left St James’ Park on Fri­day night with Premier League foot­ball in their pock­ets.

Yes, that late goal was a sickener. Yes, third-placed Hud­der­s­field have a game in hand. And yes, the ti­tle is al­most cer­tainly gone.

Nev­er­the­less, it is in­con­ceiv­able that the Toon won’t pick up the seven points from matches against Ip­swich, Cardiff, Pre­ston and Barns­ley. Chances are, they won’t even need to. For Leeds, things are more edgy. But the re­silience they dis­played here sug­gests they­have the char­ac­ter needed.

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