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McClaren challenges Toon to keep mini revival rolling

Steve McClaren has admitted he would be quite happy with an uneventful stay in mid-table after a nerve-shredding start to his reign at Newcastle.

The Magpies have given their survival hopes a major boost in the last fortnight with largely unexpected victories over Liverpool and Tottenham, which have eased them out of the bottom three.

A third successive win over struggling Aston Villa this evening could leave them in a comfortable position, and that would do for McClaren.

Asked if he would settle for a "boring" second half of the season, he replied: "At the present moment that's not boring me. Believe you me, that's not boring me."

Asked if it would be Newcastle-like for them to lose to Remi Garde's men, McClaren said: "So everyone keeps telling me.

"The players have heard it, we have heard it and I think we have got the message loud and clear. We will do everything to try to avoid that.

"All you can do is prepare and give yourselves the best possible chance to win. Tomorrow is an opportunity and a challenge for the players.

"But there is no doubt we are facing a very, very dangerous Villa team who have got individuals who are capable of winning matches."

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