Findlay eyeing final victory
Written by Tom Easterby
Newcastle United defender Stuart Findlay says winning the Premier League 2 Division Two play-off final would be the perfect way to cap his first season at the club.
The Scottish centre half has been a mainstay for United’s Under-23s side this term, and headed in their second goal in the 2-0 semi-final win over Fulham on Monday which set up Tuesday’s winner-takes-all clash with West Ham United at St. James’ Park (7pm kick-off).
Findlay – who made his first team bow for the Magpies in the FA Cup replay win over Birmingham City in January – has now set his sights on helping the second string to promotion, ten months after arriving on Tyneside from Celtic.
“We’ve worked really hard to get here, but now it’s all about putting in a really solid 90 or 120 minutes on Tuesday and making the full season worthwhile,” the 21-year-old told nufc.co.uk. “It’s all well and good getting to the final, but nobody wants to lose it at that stage.
“Especially with the way we started (against Fulham), I don’t think anyone can match us when we start like that. We know that if we go and we perform the way we can, we’re not to be scared of anybody and we can win the game and get into the top division next year.”
Former Kilmarnock loanee Findlay has made 18 appearances for Peter Beardsley’s young side this term, scoring three times, including that header against the Cottagers.
And the Scotland Under-21 international hopes the spirit in the camp, which has contributed to his memorable first year at Newcastle, can help them secure promotion to Division One for next season.
“It’s a great set of lads we’ve got here, and I’ve been made welcome since the moment I stepped through the door. I feel we’ve really bonded, and for an under-23 team I’ve never seen a team spirit the way we’ve got it,” he said. “We’re all willing to fight for each other, willing to dig each other out of holes and it doesn’t matter who scores the goals as long as we score them and get through as a team.
“A lot of people asked me why I came down to an under-23 team when I could maybe have gone to a first team somewhere else, but to have the season we’ve had, and to have a wee bit of experience playing in the FA Cup, the year’s been perfect. It would just be an absolute dream to finish off with promotion and make everything worthwhile for the season that we’ve had.”
Findlay added: “If any teams gets to a final, you deserve to be there. We didn’t start (the season) too well, but we’ve fought back and it just shows that were a real fighting team.
“Even when we’ve not been great sometimes, we’ve ground out the results and that’s what you need. The final's going to be a hard game, no matter who it’s against, but we know we're as good as anybody, and if we perform we know we’ll be the winners at the end of it.”
“We’ve worked really hard to get here, but now it’s all about putting in a really solid 90 or 120 minutes on Tuesday and making the full season worthwhile."