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4th Jan, 2017 | 7:58am

Jamaal Lascelles delivers verdict on Blackburn clash and Newcastle second half of season

By Matt Farr

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles has assured fans that their current form is nothing to worry about.

The Magpies slumped to a disappointing defeat to relegation candidates Blackburn on Monday, leaving them two points behind Championship leaders Brighton, who have a game in hand.

A defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day began to raise concerns among anxious fans that their form could hamper their title bid, and their second defeat in three games on Monday added to their concerns.

With four defeats in their last 10 league games, Newcastle have allowed title rivals Brighton to snatch top-spot, where they are now building a lead that could extend to five points if they win their extra game.

Meanwhile, the likes of Reading, Huddersfield and Leeds are quickly bearing down on Newcastle, with Reading within just six points – and they too have a game in hand.

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However, Newcastle defender and club captain Jamaal Lascelles has reassured the St. James’ Park faithful that there is no reason to be alarmed, and backed his side to bounce back.

He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “We’re very disappointed but we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it because we can take a lot of positives away from this game.

“From start to finish we controlled the game, we dictated the pace of the game and we stuck to our gameplan.

“We lost our first two games at the start of the season and we still managed to get over 50 points, so this is the second half of the season.

“We’ve started off with a little blip but we’ll pick it back up and prepare for the next game like we always do.”

Newcastle’s next Championship meeting is a trip to 14th placed Brentford, but first Rafa Benitez’s side must turn their attention to an FA Cup third round clash with Birmingham on Saturday.

Neither Brentford nor Birmingham have been in the best of form of late, with Birmingham failing to win any of their four games since Gianfranco Zola took charge mid-December.

Brentford, meanwhile, have won just three of their last 10 league games.

In other Newcastle news, Rafa Benitez must cash-in on this midfielder in January.