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Westendorf eyes play-offs ahead of Birmingham battle

Written by Luke Vinton

With eight Premier League 2 games remaining for Newcastle United Under-23s, striker Issac Westendorf is targeting the Division Two play-off spots ahead of Monday's visit of Birmingham City (kick-off 7pm GMT).

The young Magpies, currently occupying fourth place on 29 points, welcome their Blues counterparts to Whitley Park, aiming to maintain their push for promotion to Division One.

Newcastle's second-string have already defeated Birmingham on three occasions, scoring a total of ten goals without conceding, and Westendorf - who scored against City whilst on trial for the Magpies - is aiming to replicate previous victories against their upcoming opponents.

The Bremen-born forward, who signed an 18-month contract with Newcastle in Janauary, told nufc.co.uk: "Our target is to finish the season as strongly as possible to make sure we qualify for the play-off spots. Birmingham is another game, another final for us.

"It gives us confidence (beating Birmingham three times this season) but at the same time, football is a funny game. It's a new match and anything can happen but it's a one we'll be looking to get three points from and show we are hungry for the play-offs.

"Everyone in the squad are quite happy at the minute. Obviously, we lost against Fulham a couple of weeks ago but I think the way the team is strong mentally, we're all feeling good.

"We have games in hand against teams around us which can be a good thing but at the same time, we have a lot of games coming thick and fast in the next few weeks. We all need to be ready, even those who may not be playing, and focussed on the task ahead.

Westendorf is aiming to return to competitive action with Newcastle's youngsters after sitting out last week's Premier League Cup last-16 defeat at Fulham due to suspension. 

The 20-year-old striker was sent off in the closing stages of a thrilling 4-3 away win at Norwich City, registering an assist before scoring a 90th minute winner in Norfolk but was then dismissed after taking his shirt off in celebration whilst on a yellow card.

He added: "I'm going to learn from it! It was a great way to win the game against Norwich but I was gutted to miss out against Fulham in the cup game as I couldn't help the team. I'm back now and I'm just looking forward to Monday's match and trying to get three points.

"I was on the bench just hoping to come off to help the team come from 3-1 down. When I came on, I was able to contribute and we came from behind to claim a good win." 

Supporters will be able to attend Monday's Premier League 2 clash at Whitley Park, with season ticket holders gaining free admission otherwise it's £3 for adults and £1 concessions.

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