The under-21s celebrate

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

A ten-match unbeaten run has propelled Newcastle United to the brink of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Tier Two title and the Magpies can win the league against Bolton Wanderers on Friday (kick-off 7pm).

It would take a heavy defeat to the third-placed Trotters to deny Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley's side the crown - and a play-off match against Everton next week - and Donachie is hoping for a healthy crowd at Whitley Park in Benton.

Bolton are the only side who can now catch United, but their goal difference trails Newcastle's by six. However, Donachie is determined to end the campaign on a high.

"We won't be thinking about simply not getting beat - that hasn't even crossed our minds," he told nufc.co.uk. "Bolton are a very good side with some excellent players so we'll have to go into the match with the same attitude that we have in the whole of the second part of the season.

"And the prospect of extending the season and getting the chance to show that we have the best under-21 side in the country is a fantastic incentive."

United were placed in Tier Two when the league split at the turn of the year and, since losing to Reading in January, the Magpies have been in fine form.

Midfielder Bradden Inman is likely to play on Friday having returned from his successful loan spell at Crewe Alexandra, while Adam Campbell - Newcastle's leading scorer at this level - is also in contention.

But Donachie said: "The lads who have been playing anyway, like Michael (Richardson) and Tav (James Tavernier), have been doing a good job so whoever plays, they deserve it and it's a great chance for them."

Admission on Friday is £3 for adults and £1 concessions via the turnstiles. Season ticket holders and Members gain free entry. 

"The Newcastle public are very knowledgeable about football and I know they're interested in the young, homegrown players," Donachie said.

"I like to see a crowd of knowledgeable fans because they'll let the players know if they're doing well or they're struggling and it's something they've got to get used to.

"Because soon, hopefully, they'll have 50,000 telling them if they're good or bad."

Barclays Under-21 Premier League Stage Two (Group Two) as it stands...

 

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

For

Against

GD

Points

Newcastle

11

6

4

1

20

11

9

22

Reading

12

6

2

4

15

11

4

20

Bolton

11

5

4

2

16

13

3

19

Norwich

11

5

1

5

17

13

4

16

Man City

12

4

4

4

24

22

2

16

C Palace

10

2

3

5

15

23

-8

9

Stoke

11

2

0

9

9

23

-14

6