Newcastle head coach John Carver is refusing to contemplate the ’R-word’ as he attempts to drag the club to Barclays Premier League safety.
The Magpies finally ended a run of eight successive defeats last weekend when they drew with West Brom at St James’ Park, a result which left them just two points clear of the drop zone with two games remaining.
Their fate remains in their own hands – indeed, victory at relegated QPR on Saturday, coupled with defeat for Hull at Tottenham, would end their fears – but Carver is concentrating purely on his team.
Asked if the thought the fight against relegation would go all the way to the final game, he said: “That word is not even in my vocabulary, trust me. All I’m thinking about is Saturday against QPR.
“Let’s win the game and see what happens.
“If I start thinking about everything else, then it’s like a golfer coming down the 18th and he’s got the championship in his sights and all of a sudden he starts waving at the crowd, he loses his concentration, bang, misses a putt and loses the championship.
“I’m not even going to be distracted. I’m focused.”
Two seasons ago, Newcastle won at Loftus Road to secure their top-flight status, and a repeat this time around would send up a huge sigh of relief over Tyneside.
Carver and his players will head south not knowing quite what to expect from Rangers, who were relegated last weekend after a 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City, although the 50-year-old is expecting a backlash from Chris Ramsey’s men.
He said: “Listen, if I was Chris Ramsey and I had just lost at Manchester City by the scoreline he lost by, then I’d be at my players to put on a show.
“Let’s not forget, this is their last home game in the Premier League for at least one season, and they did take a little bit of a beating last weekend, so I’d want my players to put on a show.
“Yes, they might be a little bit more relaxed, yes, he might play one or two younger players, but I think there are one or two characters in their team who will have a point to prove because it’s not nice when you lose a game like they did last weekend and they will want to go out on a high.”
Carver will have striker Papiss Cisse and winger Rolando Aarons among his squad following their recovery from injury and full-back Daryl Janmaat, who has completed a one-match ban.
However, he will be without midfielder Siem de Jong and striker Adam Armstrong through injury.