Burnley sign up ex-Newcastle man ahead of Turf Moor clash
Steve Stone's been plotting Newcastle United's downfall at Turf Moor.
Gateshead-born Stone – who spent five years on the coaching staff at St James's Park – has joined Monday night's opponents Burnley as the club's Under-23 coach.
Stone had been working as a scout for the club, which is level on points in the Premier League with 14th-placed Newcastle.
The 47-year-old told the Burnley Express: “I love Newcastle United as a football club – I supported the club as a boy – but work is work!
“Unfortunately, we seem to be playing teams who have picked up a little recently, and they have because they’ve got everybody fit.
“Rafa (Benitez) is a top manager, I’ve watched him, especially at the start of this season, where he’s been getting a bit of stick with the way they’ve been playing, how deep they’ve been dropping, but if you look at his goal difference, he’s been clever about that.
“It’s better than everybody else’s at the bottom. He’s shut up shop and realises his cup finals are against your Burnleys and the teams around them.
"That’s what he’ll say, they’ve got the likes of (Salomon) Rondon fit, Kenedy has hit a bit of form again, and Matt Ritchie is a good player."They seem to be going in the right direction. But every game is ridiculously hard in the Premier League – it doesn’t matter who you play.
“He’s made them very hard to beat. Getting beat, and by a lot of goals, can drain confidence in the side, and that’s what he’s worked on.”