Bailey determined for promotion push ahead of Wolves clash
Written by Luke Vinton
Owen Bailey is hopeful Newcastle United Under-23s can keep their promotion hopes on track ahead of facing Premier League 2 leaders Wolves on Saturday (kick-off 12pm GMT).
The young Magpies sit in fifth spot - the final play-off spot in Division Two - and know a victory at Whitley Park would narrow the gap over the frontrunners to three points, moving Ben Dawson's side into third place.
With a game in hand, United's youngsters also have a key opportunity to extend their gap over sixth-place Manchester United, with Newcastle currently five points clear of the Red Devils with four league games remaining.
Bailey, captain of the under-23s, understands the importance of taking maximum points but is aware of the dangers their opponents bestow - with Wolves netting 40 league goals whilst conceding just 16 times.
"I think it's a game that we need to try and get something out of," Bailey told nufc.co.uk. "We're in a decent position right now in the play-offs and if we can cement that place, it would be great for the team. A win can make a massive difference towards that and gives us a bit of momentum to try and kick on for the remaining games.
"We know they are a good side - that's why they are top of the division. We played them away and they showed their quality and we got beat. Although we got beat 2-0, I thought we were unlucky and we are looking to rectify that and aiming to get a positive result against them.
"We know that the higher you finish in the table you are likely to get a home tie for the play-offs but I think most of the sides in our league are very strong. There is still a small chance that we can win the league, so if we can try to get a string of results together towards the end of the season, you never know what can happen. You may need to rely on other games but you never know what's going to happen in this league."
The 20-year-old defender added that, with the play-off positions in touching distance, the youngsters must not let their feet off the pedals with the latter stages of the season approaching.
And, despite losing key squad members over the course of the season, Bailey praised the efforts of the squad members who have stepped up and contributed towards the young Magpies' impressive campaign.
Bailey added: "To finish the season on a bit of a roll would be great which we could take into the play-offs providing we can qualify. We have had plenty of winning runs throughout the season and hopefully, if we reach the play-offs, get a positive outcome from it to try and get promoted. All we can do right now is concentrate on ourselves and try to win as many games as possible.
"Everyone who has played throughout the season and even the teenagers who have recently come into the team have done their bit. Compared to the start of this season, the team is so different to what it is now due to a lot of players moving out on loan.
"I think the way we have carried on getting strong results has been fantastic even though the team has been chopped and changed so much. It is a credit to the group for sticking at it and gaining plenty of positive results."