Karl Darlow has revealed that he does not care if Newcastle United win the Championship title, writes Liam Kennedy.
Instead, the goalie says promotion back to the Premier League is all that matters. In fact, that’s all that has ever mattered since day one this season.
The Magpies’ home draw with Leeds on Good Friday meant they fell further behind Brighton in the race to be crowned second tier champions, with United currently sitting some four points behind Chris Hughton’s Seagulls.
The gap to third-placed Huddersfield was also eroded. It is now just eight points with the Terriers having played a game less than Rafa Benitez’s men heading into this afternoon’s fixtures.
Darlow, though, is not concerned with silverware.
All he wants is for United, by hook or by crook, to be back in the big time next season.
When asked whether he cares about winning the league, he said: “Not right now, no. I think first and foremost we need to get promoted.
“That was the goal at the start of the season and it’s been a tough year. We’ve played some good stuff and still done very well in this league.
“We just need to finish it off now, and we’ve got four games to go and do that.”
United take on Ipswich this afternoon knowing a win will take them one step closer to the top flight. A loss for David Wagner & Co against Derby County would mean United can secure promotion at the weekend without even kicking a ball.
Darlow is not focused on the other promotion rivals results, he just thinks Newcastle need to stick to their own task at hand.
“We just look at the points gap, and we know what we have to do,” he said.
“We want to do it mathematically as quickly as possible.
“That’s why I was so disappointed with the result because it would have been another big step in the right direction towards the Premier League.”
Reflecting back on the Whites draw, which due to the late nature of Chris Wood’s equaliser, felt like a defeat, Darlow thinks plenty of positives came out of the encounter.
“We played some good stuff, and particularly off the back of last weekend when we were poor, it’s a great reaction really at home,” said the former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper.
“We had the fans behind us all the way so we know we played some good stuff and we just need to carry that performance into the rest of the season really.
“It felt like a defeat. Obviously, it was disappointing to take. I felt we did enough to win the game and the performance was excellent throughout and I think we just lost a little bit of concentration at the end that cost us the points.
“It’s disappointing, but we pick ourselves up and we have to go again.”
On the atmosphere, he continued: “It was unbelievable, right from the word, ‘go’, the fans were right behind us.
“Coming to this place must be daunting for opposition players because they know they’re going to have 50,000 Geordies screaming at them.”
“So it’s great for us to play in front of that.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the right result, but we go to Ipswich with a positive mindset.
“We have to. We have to win two or three games, we know what we need to do, and we have to make sure we do that to ensure we’re in the Premier League next year.”