I think a lot of people would have accepted four points over Easter, so to win both games was absolutely brilliant. Starting at Norwich, to play under that pressure, away from home, with 10 men, the team showed great character to come away with the three points. It was a fantastic result, and a result that we needed.
It was such a relief to see us score a penalty, too, and fair play to Tom Cairney for having the guts to take it. Penalties have been a hot topic this season for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully now we’ve put away that one, we’ll be confident scoring any others that come our way.
We then needed to back that up at home and we did just that with a superb win against Villa. This time the fortunes were reversed as they had someone sent off in the first half, but I felt we were the better side even before that. It was a really professional display by the lads, and I think the result was no less than they deserved.
A lot of people thought it was going to be between Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday for the final Play-Off spot, but with us and them both winning it’s dragged a third team into the equation, Leeds. That makes the situation better for us. We seem to be the form team at the minute, which is exactly what we want at this stage of the season.
It’s a massive game at Huddersfield on Saturday. It will be very tight but I think all the pressure’s on them. They’re at home, they won’t have given up hope of catching Newcastle, so their fans are going to be desperate for a win. If we play well in the first 20 minutes then hopefully we can silence the crowd and we’ll have a great chance of getting a result.
I still feel there’s going to be ups and downs to come, the three games remaining for everyone will have plenty of twists and turns. But we’ve put ourselves in the picture. Huddersfield is a difficult place to go but they might be a little bit deflated having conceded a late equaliser at Derby on Monday. Hopefully we can go there and continue our great away form.
Everyone remembers Huddersfield away when we clinched promotion all those years ago, so why not go there on Saturday and get the three points which could hopefully lead to another one? I started on the bench that day in April 2001. We’d beaten Blackburn in midweek and had Huddersfield on the Saturday, so we stayed up north. We were quite emotionally drained from the Blackburn game, of which we played the majority with 10 men, so it was great to get the win and seal promotion.
When the final whistle went I ran over to the travelling fans and did some sort of bizarre windmill thing with my arms! I was always renowned for doing silly celebrations. I remember the Fulham away fans were special, they were always there in their numbers singing loudly. I always wanted to pay them back so hopefully I put a smile on their faces. They had a lot to smile about that year! I’m sure they’ll be there in their droves supporting the lads on Saturday.
Finally, I just want to say a huge well done to Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, who were named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year. I was fortunate enough to receive the same accolade in 2000/01, so they’re in good company! It’s a great achievement for the pair of them and they can be very proud of how they’ve done this season.