Newcastle United’s promotion bid was never going to be an easy ride - Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring in Tuesday's draw with QPR. Picture by Frank Reid

Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring in Tuesday's draw with QPR. Picture by Frank Reid

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Promotion from the Championship was never going to be an easy ride, according to Newcastle United wideman Matt Ritchie.

And the Scotland international should know, given the fact he’s been through it all before with former club Bournemouth.

I certainly knew it was never going to be an easy run-in

Since December, United’s form has dipped. That has seen them relinquish control at the top of the second tier to Brighton and allow the teams in the play-off hunt below to claw back the gap.

Given how dominant Rafa Benitez’s men were earlier in the campaign, recent results have come as a shock to many.

But Ritchie is battle-hardened at this level and he is in no doubt that the second-tier rollercoaster ride will have a few twists and turns for United yet.

“There will be a lot of ups and downs,” he said.

“I’ve been in the Championship a few times now and I know it is not plain sailing.

“It’s a rocky ride in and the fans have to stick with us, stay positive and support us. We need to deliver, though.”

United were pegged back in the 90th minute on Tuesday evening by a plucky QPR side managed by Ian Holloway.

While Ritchie was disappointed to drop two home points against one of the division’s lesser lights, it was by no means a disaster.

“We are disappointed in the manner we dropped two points,” he said. “But we have to remain positive.

“On another night we score the third goal, win 3-1 and move on.

“We need to stay positive. It is a long season.

“I certainly knew it was never going to be an easy run-in. I think everyone else in the dressing room knows, too.

“We are really going to have to work for what we want.

“There are some good teams in this league who are competition, but we are ready for that.”

He continued: “Every point in this league is good.

“We need to concentrate on us and we need to get to that 90 point mark, and we will be there or there abouts.

“It is going to be tight but we’re ready for the challenge.”