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Barrett stoked up for Potters clash

Written by Luke Vinton

Ryan Barrett is determined for Newcastle United Under-23s to return to winning ways ahead of the young Magpies' Premier League 2 clash against Stoke City on Friday night (kick-off 7pm).

Chris Hogg's side entertain their City counterparts at Whitley Park and bid to move off the foot of the Division Two table with a much-needed victory.

Despite respective league defeats against Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Barrett remains hopeful his side can extinguish their winless streak and maintain their push for the play-offs, with United's second-string currently six points adrift of league leaders Middlesbrough.

The 19-year-old defender, who joined Newcastle's Academy at the age of 11, told nufc.co.uk: "We've been training hard this past week and coming off a bad result against Wolves (a 3-0 loss), we're dying to get back onto the pitch and put things right. Hopefully, we can come away with a win.

"The defeats have been tough but we know we've just got to stick in and remain confident that we can go out there and put in a good performance which can give us that win we are all craving and put us in good stead.

"The table remains quite tight and there's not a lot of points in it so a win would be absolutely massive for us to really push on and get in and around the play-off places and stay up there.

"I think we all know that we are capable of doing good things and playing well but it's just a sticky spell at the minute. We need to push through, keep our heads high and go out to show what we can do."

Newcastle's youngsters were involved in friendly action last weekend, holding Sheffield United's under-23s to a 1-1 draw at Whitley Park as striker Yannick Touré netted for the hosts.

Barrett, who was sidelined for a month after picking up a thigh injury against Fulham in October, was pleased to complete another 90 minutes against the Blades whilst revealing his frustration in missing out on captaining the under-23s at St. James' Park against the Cottagers.

The right-back, who has represented Wales at under-17 level, added: "We had the friendly against Sheffield United put in place and the performance was a lot better than it has been in the past few weeks. I think we were quite disappointed not to come away with the win.

"Confidence still remains high and we are looking forward to playing against Stoke on Friday and trying to get three points.

"I first felt my thigh against Fulham at St. James'. I was buzzing to be playing there and I'd been given the captain's armband for the game but in the warm-up, I found it very uncomfortable to strike through the ball.

"I knew I couldn't play and I was devastated as were the coaches. I've been sidelined for four weeks but I worked hard to try and get back as quickly as I could.

"I always try to stay positive, no matter what, but I have had a few injuries in the past which have bothered me and made me spent a lot of time off the pitch.

"I've felt much better about myself recently after getting another 90 minutes under my belt and I am looking to push on to find that good form again."

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