Chris Wood chasing two more wins to keep Newcastle safe from the drop

The Magpies went 10 points clear of the relegation zone on Friday evening.

Newcastle’s Chris Wood is targeting two more wins for Premier League safety (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Damian Spellman, PA

Match-winner Chris Wood is targeting two more wins to end Newcastle’s fight for Premier League survival.

Friday night’s 1-0 victory over Wolves at St James’ Park left the Magpies 10 points clear of the relegation zone with time running out fast for the teams below them, but head coach Eddie Howe was swift to insist afterwards that their worries are far from over.

However Wood, whose 72nd-minute penalty paid off another instalment of the £25million the club invested in his services in January, is confident two more wins will compete the job. And with Leicester and Crystal Palace due on Tyneside inside the next fortnight, he is hoping they can get them as soon as possible.

Wood believes his side has ‘enough opportunities’ ahead of them to ensure their survival in the top flight (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Asked about the importance of the victory over Wolves, the New Zealand international told NUFC TV: “It’s one step closer. Another couple of wins does it, so we’re going to look forward to that.

“We’ve got some big games here at St James’ Park over the next few weeks, so we’ve got enough opportunities to put it right sooner rather than later.”

No club has ever survived after winning none of its first 14 games of a Premier League campaign, but Newcastle have given themselves every chance of bucking that trend by ending a run of three successive defeats, the last of them a dispiriting 5-1 mauling at Tottenham last Sunday.

Their latest success came courtesy of a committed display in which Wood saw a first-half strike ruled out for offside by VAR before he won and then converted the decisive spot-kick with 18 minutes remaining.

Even then, he had to wait for referee Peter Bankes’ decision to award the penalty to be checked, but kept his nerve to score his second goal for the club and his first at St James’.

He said: “It’s nice to get off the mark at St James’. It’s been a while coming, The chances haven’t been free-flowing for me, so it’s nice to be able to stick the ball in the back of the net. It’s fantastic.”

The win came at a cost as Ryan Fraser limped off after just 12 minutes with a hamstring injury, while Joe Willock missed out with head coach Eddie Howe later revealing he has had an injection to address a niggling knee problem.

Ryan Fraser suffered a hamstring injury on Friday (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Howe said: “We hope that that will fix the problem for him.”

Wolves boss Bruno Lage headed home determined to address the issues which saw his side concede a seventh penalty of the campaign.

He said: “I’m the first guy to think about it, for sure, two or three nights without sleeping because I’m the first guy to put pressure on me. If the players are not doing the things we should do at that moment, I’m the first guy to blame.

“For sure in the next two or three days, I’ll be trying to create dynamic exercises to work on that. That’s the way every time, work hard to improve.”

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