Paul Dummett is confident Newcastle United will be stronger for their season in the Championship – if the club can get over the finish line.
Rafa Benitez’s second-placed side take on Leeds United at St James’s Park tonight.
Obviously, it was disappointing to be relegated last season. And for a Newcastle fan, it was even worse.Paul Dummett
Newcastle, beaten last weekend by Sheffield Wednesday, are closing in on a return to the Premier League.
Dummett was in the team which went down last season, and the defender is determined to help the team clinch an automatic promotion place.
Asked if relegation could prove to have been a blessing in disguise, Dummett said: “You obviously don’t want to be relegated.
“Even if we had stayed up and the manager had stayed, I think he would have sorted out what needed to be done anyway, but you can look about it both ways, really.
“So in a way us being relegated could be blessing in disguise.
“I suppose it has helped the club sort things out and turn things round. Hopefully, we can be on the up now.”
Boyhood Newcastle fan Dummett took relegation especially badly.
“Obviously, it was disappointing to be relegated last season,” said the Wales international. “And, for a Newcastle fan, it was even worse.
“We have a tough game (against Leeds), and our main aim is to win every game until the end of the season. One game at a time. And if we win all remaining five games, which we are hoping to do, then we would gain promotion.
“Relegation was a huge disappointment, but we have put ourselves in a really good position now to win promotion and we need to carry on what we have been doing since the start of the season for the final five games.”
Up to this season, Dummett hadn’t been used to being in a winning team.
“It’s totally different to being part of a losing team,” said the 25-year-old. “Because we have been winning most games, the feeling around the club, around the city, everything has been much better.
“For us, it is just a case of keep winning games. Win promotion, and then, hopefully if we go up, to carry on doing the same in the Premier League.
“My first few seasons here were tough because we were not doing so well.
“It’s been quite negative, so to have one season in the Championship after all that can maybe do us no harm, really.
“To have that good feeling back around the place is a real positive.”
Left-back Dummett, keeping Achraf Lazaar, Jesus Gamez and Massadio Haidara out of the team, has almost been an ever-present for Benitez this season.
“I have played most weeks,” he said. “That was obviously my main aim individually – to play every week.
“But the most important thing is the team. My individual performances can help the team’s overall performance.
“Yes, I have been pretty consistent throughout the season, and the manager has seen that to keep on picking me every week.
“I have just got to stay on my toes, because we have three others who can play left back as well, so I know if I am not playing very well, then I can be replaced by any one of them.
“I have to be on top form to keep playing.”
“Our main aim was to win promotion, and we have got ourselves into a very good position,” said Dummett. “There are five games left and we will take one at a time.”