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Magpies have the right mindset ahead of Seagulls showdown, Jones insists

Graeme Jones is confident that Newcastle United’s players are fully focussed on the task in hand as he prepares to take charge of the Magpies for a third game in a row against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Jones confirmed on Friday that he will remain at the helm for United’s trip to the South Coast, where they’ll take on a Brighton side flying high in the Premier League under his former teammate and close friend, Graham Potter.

The Magpies, meanwhile, remain without a win in all competitions this term, and have drawn one and lost one since Steve Bruce’s departure a fortnight ago.

“I’m taking (the game),” Jones told the media at lunchtime. “I’ve prepared the team all week on that proviso. Obviously the owners have communicated with me, so I know where we are with things, but I’ve never lost focus and the lads haven’t lost focus – if you get involved with speculation, you will. We know we have a big game tomorrow. I feel like the team are well prepared, and we’re looking forward to the game.

“I’m here to do the best I can for the football club, and that’s what I’ve done. My conscience is absolutely clear. That’s what it is – an interim period, which means uncertainty. But I think we’ve managed that between us. We’ve been very open and very honest with the boys, and that’s football, isn’t it? Your biggest quality in football is to be adaptable, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Jones played alongside Potter during the pair’s time together at former Football League outfit Boston United in 2003/04, and also recommended him to Swedish side Östersunds, where his managerial career took off.

Brighton currently sit just four points shy of the Premier League’s top four after an impressive start to the campaign, and also beat the Magpies 3-0 home and away last term, the most recent meeting coming at the Amex back in March.

“In life you learn lessons. It’s about what you do with those lessons, and there were a few things I learned that night,” Jones said of the equivalent fixture last year. “Remember that we all make mistakes – everybody. It’s learning from those mistakes that’s important. Hopefully we’ve set up in a way where we learn from those mistakes on that March evening, because it was a low point.

“But I’ve got to give credit to Graham as well, because of his work. It’s two teams. Obviously you have a greater ability to control a football result when you’re an on-the-ball team, and that’s what they are. But our lads are prepared, and we’ll see where we are tomorrow night.”

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Graeme Jones' pre-Brighton media briefing in full

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