Guthrie won’t forget pain of Villa Park

Danny Guthrie

Danny Guthrie

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NEWCASTLE United’s last visit to Villa Park won’t be forgotten, not least by the players.

And Danny Guthrie, for one, is still driven by the pain of club’s relegation.

Guthrie was on the pitch when Newcastle meekly ended their 16-year stay in the Premier League the season before last.

That day, a Damien Duff own goal was the difference between the two sides on what was the final day of a desperate campaign.

Gareth Barry’s shot would have gone harmlessly wide had it not been clipped Duff’s heel.

The line between success and failure might have been fine, but United’s relegation owed more to the previous 37 games than the 90 minutes against Aston Villa.

However, the way some home fans seemed to revel in Newcastle’s demise didn’t sit well with the 3,000-strong travelling support, or those watching the drama unfold on TV.

And ahead of Sunday’s game, there’s little sympathy for Villa’s plight on Tyneside.

Guthrie, however, insists he and his team-mates, while aware of the emotive nature of their first return to Villa Park, won’t be focused on revenge, with United themselves needing another three points to be certain of their own top-flight status.

“It’s strange – it seems like they’re in the position we were in,” Guthrie told SportMail.

“It was a horrible day, and no-one’s forgotten it.

“It would be nice to do it for the fans. Some of the lads are still here from that day, so it would be nice to put one over them.

“We’ll just go there and concentrate on ourselves – we’re not looking at other teams. Everyone’s fully focused on getting those last few points.

“It would be just nice to go there and win, and get the last few points.”

Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, Damien Duff and Mark Viduka all moved on in the wake of relegation.

But Guthrie was among those who stayed at St James’s Park to right the wrongs of that depressing campaign.

Amid talk of Newcastle following Leeds United into League One, Guthrie and those who, like him, opted to fight on banded together and won the Championship.

“The lads who stayed could have moved on, but we felt it was our duty to get this club back to where it belongs,” added the 23-year-old.

“We’re making a good fist of it at the minute, and personally, I never doubted I would stay.”

While there have been lows this season, the fact that United are close to safety with seven games left to play is an achievement in itself, though Guthrie won’t relax until Newcastle pass the 40-point mark.

Guthrie added: “We’d have snatched that before the start of the season.

“We just want to concentrate on each game as it comes.

“We go into every game with a positive frame of mind, and it’s another big game.

“We just want to get those last few points to really put the marker down. We’re just concentrating on each game as it comes.”