By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Alan Pardew hopes working with a "fresh" group of players this week will help take United to the brink of the 40-point mark this weekend.
Newcastle travel to West Bromwich Albion in Premier League action on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) looking for an instant response to their Tyne-Wear derby defeat at the hands of Sunderland.
The rare situation of no midweek match has given Pardew and his coaching staff six days to work with the Magpies' squad - something which the boss believes has had a noticeable effect.
And if they pick up an away victory at the Hawthorns, it would leave them one point away from the much-talked-about safety mark.
"We've worked hard on the team this week and are looking forward to Saturday," said Pardew.
"We've had a little bit of time to work with the team and for them to be fresh, and they've been so different in training.
"The players know they carry the responsibility of this Club in the last five games to get some good results.
"The target for us at this moment is just to get 40 points as quickly as possible, and that will be the same for any team in the bottom half of the table.
"If you get a couple of wins then you can start to look at the top ten because it is that tight, but as we speak today we just need to secure some points."
Pardew paid tribute to Albion, who have been the surprise package of the top flight and currently lie eighth after an outstanding campaign.
"Steve Clarke has done a great job there in his first year as a manager," said United's supremo.
"He was at our game (against Sunderland) so I'm sure he will be thinking they've got a great chance.
"We need to give a much better, improved showing, and hopefully we will do that."
However, having already lost Ryan Taylor and Tim Krul to respective long-term knee and shoulder injuries this week, Newcastle are also likely to be without midfield duo Cheick Tiote and Sylvain Marveaux for their trip to the Midlands.
"We've got a couple of injuries on top of the ones everyone knows about," said the manager.