Allardyce convinced Newcastle can crack top four

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has made no effort to play down expectations at St James’ Park this season, hinting The Magpies could be set to push for a top four finish.

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Allardyce’s men are picking up an average of two points per match so far this season, a ratio that would see them finish with a points total of 76, which was good enough for a third-placed finish last year.

"I am not saying the squad is good enough to break into the top four because we are all new and we are only just coming together," he told The Derby Telegraph .

"But if it realises its potential as quickly as it can, then we could go a long way this year - if we steer clear of injuries.

"At the moment, we are not fully aware of all our strengths and weaknesses, and we are also short with long-term injuries to Celestine Babayaro, Damien Duff, Joey Barton, Stephen Carr and Peter Ramage.

"Emre rang in saying he got injured playing international football again, so that's disappointing having only had him fit for one game.

"That's a massive blow for us and for him but the squad is looking good and looking sharp. It just needs to gel together in terms of knowing our strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully we will get better and better.

"If we can do that, hopefully results will follow if we keep this clean sheet mentality and a Michael Owen or an Obafemi Martins or a Mark Viduka stays in the goalscoring mood they are in.

"It could be very, very good for us over the next few weeks and months."