By Will Butcher
Micky Quinn believes Newcastle will beat Brighton on Tuesday night and send a message to the rest of the Championship’s promotion chasers.
The Toon take on automatic promotion rivals Brighton at the Amex Stadium, with three points enough for either side to end the night on top of the table, with only one point separating them.
Speaking on Alan Brazil’s talkSPORT breakfast show, former Magpies striker Quinn believes the loss of 26-year-old forward Dwight Gayle is huge, but is quietly confident the Toon can win.
“I think Newcastle have to win,” Quinn said, in a video posted on Brazil’s personal Twitter account. “I fancy them, quietly.
“They have to send out a statement and go back to the top of the league and send out a message to the likes of Huddersfield that they’re going to win this league.
“I think their away from is unbelievable, and it is tailor-made for them this game tonight. Dwight Gayle is a huge loss, though.”
— The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast (@SportsBreakfast) February 28, 2017
Newcastle are in the middle of a sticky patch of form under manager Rafa Benitez, winning just three of their last six Championship encounters, despite remaining unbeaten in those matches.
Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Championship struggles Bristol City saw the Toon surrender their place at the top of the table to Chris Hughton’s Seagulls, who beat Reading to leapfrog the Toon.
However, Newcastle’s away form could see Benitez’s side regain pole position in the Championship as they travel to Brighton, after winning 11 out of their 17 away league games.
But Benitez will be without top scorer Gayle, who is yet to fully overcome a hamstring injury and is likely to be replaced by either Aleksander Mitrovic or Daryl Murphy.
Newcastle will be hoping of a repeat of the reverse fixture, which saw Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey score in a 2-0 win at St. James’ Park back in August.
In other Newcastle news, David Prutton has predicted the outcome of Tuesday night’s clash.