NEWCASTLE United’s Tim Krul has a top-10 finish – and North East superiority – in his sights.
Krul and his team-mates claimed their 41st point of the season from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool.
That result has all but ensured another season of Premier League football at St James’s Park, the gap between the club and the bottom three now seven points.
However, Krul – who could be in goal for the last four games of the season with No1 Steve Harper sidelined with a knee problem – isn’t content with just survival.
The 24-year-old is determined that ninth-placed Newcastle consolidate their position in the top half of the division, and end the season above derby rivals Sunderland, also on 41 points after their 4-2 win over Wigan Athletic.
“It was definitely a good point for us,” Krul said. “We knew that Blackpool would come out fighting, and they did.
“It was like a cup final for them, and it’s a great point because it keeps them away from us, and we can look up instead.
“We want to finish in the top 10, and especially above Sunderland. It’s our aim, and I think the result is a step in the right direction.”
United seized the early initiative at Bloomfield Road, with Peter Lovenrands opening the scoring in the 16th minute.
But Alan Pardew’s side lost their way after Lovenkrands’s breakthrough, and DJ Campbell levelled by flicking a Charlie Adam corner past Krul.
However, the ball was headed out by Jose Enrique, and Krul felt it hadn’t fully crossed the line.
“I didn’t think it was a goal, and Jose didn’t think it was either,” Krul went on.
“It was disappointing, because it would have been the first clean sheet at Blackpool this season, but overall, I’m pleased with this point.”
In the minutes before the goal, Krul twice denied Campbell, though for the second save Blackpool felt he tripped the striker. Referee Martin Atkinson, however, waved play on, and TV replays confirmed he touched the ball.
Krul went on: “To be honest, I haven’t had too many easy games.
“It’s always going to be difficult here on a pitch that wasn’t that good. We didn’t take many chances, and I was glad that Peter scored.”