NEWCASTLE United are already a point better off than their tally for the whole of last season.
And manager Alan Pardew’s confident his team can keep on over-achieving.
Pardew’s players are in buoyant mood ahead of Sunday’s visit to The Hawthorns, the scene of Chris Hughton’s last game in charge of the club.
Rivals Liverpool and Chelsea lost last night, and fifth place in the Premier League is still very much within reach.
“I noticed that stat and that we are one point better off, but the boys are staying focused,” said Pardew, whose side beat Norwich City 1-0 last weekend to close the gap on Chelsea to two points.
“Last week’s refocus has set us on a new direction. At the start of the season, we’d have taken a place in the top 10.
“Yet, this is a new team, and we have to see where we can finish in the last nine games.”
The Norwich result ended a run of four games without a win, and Pardew says there’s a “vibrancy” behind the scenes ahead of the West Bromwich Albion fixture.
“The win was important for us, but the clean sheet was perhaps more important,” Pardew added.
“We’re in a good state ,and we got a lift from it. We’re vibrant going into the game and that bodes very well for Sunday.
“It’s a tough game, and everybody was in a good frame of mind for it in training yesterday.
“We’ll be out there to stump West Brom’s growth on Sunday.”
West Brom, meanwhile, are also having a creditable season under experienced manager Roy Hodgson.
And their 3-2 win at St James’s Park earlier this season still rankles, as does their three-goal comeback on the final day of last term which cost Newcastle three league places.
“Roy’s a good candidate for the England boss, for me,” said Pardew.
“I know that Harry Redknapp’s probably the media favourite, but Roy would be a great choice. He’s put together a strong side.”