By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Tim Krul believes Newcastle will be "right up there" again next season if they can steer clear of the injuries to key players which blighted last term.
Dutch keeper Krul is one of several first-team stars who saw their campaign interrupted by spells on the treatment table, but he is making good progress as he recovers from the dislocated shoulder which brought a premature end to his 2012/13.
In a bid to make sure he's fully fit for this year's big kick-off, the 25-year-old has been back at the Club's training ground ahead of the players reporting back this week and is confident that, with a little more good fortune, United can dramatically improve on last season's 16th position.
Speaking to nufc.co.uk, Krul admitted: "It was a mixed season. Getting to the quarter-finals of the Europa League was a great achievement and a fantastic experience but of course the league form was not ideal.
"But we had so many injuries. It was just ridiculous; me, Colo (Fabricio Coloccini), Yohan (Cabaye), Steven (Taylor), Hatem (Ben Arfa)... we all missed important parts of the season and I think that definitely contributed."
While last season's European exploits provided several memorable nights, they also led to 14 extra games which undoubtedly took their toll on the domestic front.
And Krul insisted: "Being able to train for a full week will make a big difference.
"We won't have any Europa League games next season and that does have an impact on the training as well as the freshness of the squad.
"Next season we'll be right up there, I have no doubt about that."
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