Chris Waddle highlights how players' uncertain futures can boost Newcastle's survival chances

St James Park

The former Magpies favourite believes that the club's players are "charged up" to impress either Rafael Benitez or potential summer suitors.

Former Newcastle United favourite Chris Waddle has told bwin that he feels the club are benefiting from the fact that numerous players have increased their efforts on the pitch due to the uncertainty surrounding their futures.

The Magpies have strongly improved their chances of survival this season after securing five points from three matches inside a week, first with the win over Swansea City before back-to-back draws in tough clashes against Manchester City and Liverpool.

That has left Rafael Benitez's side just a point adrift of both local rivals Sunderland and Norwich City in the battle to stay in the Premier League, although they have played a game more than their fellow strugglers.

Waddle, who grew up just a mile from Newcastle and scored 52 goals in 191 games for the club in the first half of the 1980s, believes that improvement has been due in no small part to players either playing for their future at the club or attempting to impress other clubs ahead of the summer transfer window.

The 55-year-old former England international told bwin: "If you’d asked me 10 days ago if Newcastle were to go down, I would have said absolutely. What’s completely baffling is how all of a sudden with four games to go they decide to show the spirit and passion to get themselves out of the situation.

"I was talking to a few Geordies the other day and they were convinced that Newcastle wouldn’t go down. If only the players had shown that sort of passion and fight five or six games earlier. I feel a lot of players are looking at their futures, looking for a move, so they’re charged up to impress now.

"If you’re in a relegation battle, your squad clearly isn’t good enough but it’s amazing to see them switch on and fight now when they hadn’t all season."

Newcastle have just three matches left to secure their fate and will be hoping they can establish themselves as favourites for survival before the difficult final-day clash with high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.

They have two excellent chances for three points on the horizon, with a home clash against Crystal Palace next Saturday before a trip to Birmingham to face already-relegated Aston Villa.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch