Michael Appleton makes bold claim about Newcastle's Premier League prospects

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton

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Michael Appleton says Newcastle United are good enough to compete for a top-half Premier League finish.

Rafa Benitez's side take on Oxford United in a fourth-round FA Cup tie at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

And Appleton, Oxford's manager, has given a glowing assessment of Benitez and Newcastle ahead of the sold-out game.

"For me, if Newcastle were in the Premier League right now, they'd be a top-10 team," Appleton told BBC Radio Oxford.

"They've got a fantastic manager, are a great club with a winning mentality and have fantastic support behind them.

"We want to make sure we can compete with them on the day. If we're in the game after 70 minutes, we need to give ourselves a great opportunity of creating an upset.

"If we can, it will be one of those games people won't forget for a long time."