By Dominic Toner
Mo Diame has labelled Newcastle’s clash against Brighton as the biggest game of the season and cranked up the pressure on their promotion rivals by reminding them of their play-off failure last season.
The Magpies travel to Championship leaders Brighton on Tuesday night in a huge league meeting.
Rafael Benitez’s side are currently second in the league, but are just a point adrift of table toppers Brighton.
The Seagulls are in pole position for a first ever promotion to the Premier League and have responded to being knocked out of the play-off semi-finals by Sheffield Wednesday last season.
Newcastle midfielder Diame has talked up the importance of Tuesday’s match and feels their opponents are desperate to secure automatic promotion this campaign.
“It will be the biggest game of the season (against Brighton),” Diame told the Chronicle. “But it’s not going be the be all and end all for the season overall. It will be very important though no doubt.
“Brighton have been up there from the beginning. Last year they did well too. I think they will be trying to make sure what happened last season doesn’t repeat itself. They will want to avoid the play-offs. They will definitely be ready for us so we must be ready for them.”
Newcastle go into the Brighton clash on the back of a mixed performance in the 2-2 draw with Bristol City.
They will feel they dropped points against the relegation threatened side, but they showed their fight as they responded to going two goals down.
Benitez’s side are unbeaten in their last nine league matches and would take a giant leap towards automatic promotion with a victory.
Meanwhile, Brighton are undefeated in their last five league matches and recorded a convincing 3-0 win over play-off rivals Reading in their last match.
In other Newcastle news, Rafael Benitez has shared when the club’s 26-year-old will return from injury.