Newcastle United have tasted what it’s like to be back on the Championship summit again, and they’re in no mood to give it up, according to Karl Darlow.
The Magpies’ weekend win over Derby County saw them rise above Brighton to the top of the second tier.
We have set a very good pace with the points we are picking up at this level.
Two dropped points on Sunday by Chris Hughton’s men meant Darlow & Co held on to that heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
In fact, United have managed to open up a point gap between themselves and Albion, having now both played 29 games.
Having hit the top again, though, Darlow says the players are in no hurry to relinquish their hold on first place.
“We have to kick on now,” he said. “We are at the top of the table again and we want to stay there.
“We need to make sure we win as many games as we can in the last 17 games that are left in the season.”
Darlow admits Newcastle have too often been the masters of their own downfall this campaign.
But the former Nottingham Forest man had praise for the Seagulls, who have gone toe-to-toe with United every step of the way this season.
“Credit to Brighton - they have kept up with us and we have to be on our toes every step of the way,” said Darlow, who was recently linked with a move away from the club, with Premier League giants Chelsea said to be keen.
“We have set a very good pace with the points we are picking up at this level.
“When you look at the totals that tend to get you up in this league we are well on track for that.”
United travel to Wolves on Saturday looking to capitalise on some recent slips by their rivals.
Darlow knows the players will have to scrap for everything down at Molineux against Paul Lambert’s men, who up until last week, were on a decent run of form.
He continued: “We don’t make it easy for ourselves.
“It is a tough league - we know that.
“Every game is a bit of a scrap and we had to do that towards the end against Derby.
“Obviously when we were only one goal up going into the final stages we knew it could turn out a bit nervy.
“It did but we showed towards the end of the game that we have the character to get through what Derby threw at us.”
Having had luck go against them last midweek v Queens Park Rangers, when Ciaran Clark headed into his own net, Darlow feels like United had the rub of the green last weekend against Steve McClaren’s Rams. And he hopes it continues.
“One header went for us against Derby and one against us in the week,” he said of DeAndre Yedlin’s late nod off the line to ensure United secured all three points.
“It was nice to have some luck go our way this time.
“It was nice of him to help me out. It was a great header.”