Jack Colback says it’s vital that Newcastle United sign ‘the right players’ for the Championship if they’re to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.
Rafa Benitez has begun the task of remodelling his squad for the rigours of a busy season in English football’s second tier.
Steven Taylor has become the first casualty, opting to leave the club after only being offered a one-year deal on vastly reduced terms.
And Benitez is now looking at which players he can add to the Newcastle squad – along with deciding which of the current crop he wants to keep hold of.
Newcastle were yesterday linked with moves for Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford and out of contract West Bromwich Albion frontman Victor Anichebe.
Both have experience of playing in the Championship – Bamford was Middlesbrough’s top goalscorer two years ago – and Colback believes it is important that the Magpies are well equipped for the challenges of Championship football.
“We need to keep hold of the right players and sign the right players,” the 26-year-old said.
“There are a lot of games and we need a strong squad with good players who are up for the challenge.”
When Newcastle were last relegated in 2009, they bounced back to the Premier League at the first attempt with a squad that had a good mixture of experience and youth.
The Magpies retained the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Alan Smith, Shola Ameobi and Steve Harper, along with Argentinian duo Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez.
Manager Chris Hughton also brought in the likes of Mike Williamson, Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands, while youngsters Danny Simpson and Andy Carroll prospered outside of the top flight.
It was the core of strong characters that were crucial to Newcastle’s success, however, and Colback wants to see similar personalities in the squad this time around.
“We’ll need players who can properly help the team now, not a few years down the line,” he added.
“It’s a tough league and you need a strong group of characters in order to get promoted.”