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Flaherty targeting play-offs ahead of Royals visit

Written by Luke Vinton

Newcastle United Under-23s host Reading on Monday afternoon and winger Stan Flaherty remains hopeful of reaching the Premier League 2 Division Two play-offs.

Chris Hogg and Peter Ramage's side take on their Royals counterparts at United's Little Benton Academy (kick-off 1pm GMT) and can move to within three points of fifth-placed Fulham in Division Two.

Flaherty scored the eventual match-winner as well as providing two assists in a thrilling 3-2 win against West Bromwich Albion last week and is confident Newcastle's second-string can deliver successive home victories to enhance their promotion hopes.

The 19-year-old told nufc.co.uk: "We're all be buzzing going into the game on Monday after beating West Brom. It's always good to get the three points and we played really well in the first-half and then really dug deep in the second to get the result.

"The football we played and the movement at the top end of the pitch was great. It was a fluid performance and thankfully we got the goals to match it. We also showed we can do both sides of the game after digging deep to get three points at the end of the game.

"We went away to Reading and lost 3-2 (in October) so we will be trying to put that right when they come up here. When we last played against them, we felt we should have got more from the game so I think we stand a good chance."

Competing in his maiden season at under-23 level, Flaherty has impressed for United's second-string so far this term, recording six league goals and six assists for the young Magpies. 

The London-born winger is prioritising results over personal plaudits, though, and is hopeful of beginning March in a positive manner with six Premier League 2 games to play this month.

"It would be nice to hit double figures and if I keep putting stats up, that will help the team," he added. "The main focus, though, is trying to get as many wins as possible until the end of the season.

"Within the group, we have spoken about making the play-offs. If we can get points here and there, I think we have a good chance of achieving that.

"We have a lot of quality in our squad and we are capable, on our day, of beating anybody.

"We've got six games within the next few weeks so it will be a very hectic period. The next month will determine where we could finish at the end of the season."

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