John Carver insists a second Premier League relegation in six years would be “unbearable” for Newcastle United.
Head coach Carver leads Newcastle into their final game of the season at home to West Ham on Sunday, with the club vying with Hull City to avoid the last remaining spot in the bottom three.
Newcastle sit 17th, two points clear of third-bottom Hull, who host Manchester United at the KC Stadium. A victory for Hull and anything less for Newcastle would see Carver’s men slip back into the Championship.
Both clubs were involved in the relegation scrap at the end of the 2008-09 campaign, when a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa consigned Newcastle to the drop.
“I can’t believe it’s come to this, but it has and we’ve got to deal with it,” said Carver.
“I’ve told the guys to try and stay off social media and keep away from watching other football because that can mentally fatigue you and add more pressure.
“We have four or five players who were here the last time this team was relegated and so they know what it feels like – I know what it feels like.
“It was hard to take and that’s stayed with me. I’ll use that in my head and I’ll use it as a motivational tool to try and get a reaction out of the players.
“To be honest, it doesn’t even bear thinking about for me how unbearable it would be if this club dropped down, I don’t know how long it would take to get over it.
“In the last 10 games we have had some big performances from big players, but we have been inconsistent that’s for sure.
“There are no second chances now, it won’t do next week or the week after. It’s the last game of the season and it’s all about this one cup final. It’s a case of winner takes it all.”
Newcastle are on a wretched run of form, with just one point from 10 matches, while their visitors West Ham have won only one of their past seven.
Uncertainty continues to surround the future of West Ham manager Sam Allardyce as his current contract expires at the end of the season and he will discover his fate on Monday.
Between now and then, Allardyce returns to St James’ Park and says the chance to relegate his former club serves as no motivation for him.
“It’s too far down the road for any of that stuff,” said Allardyce.
“It’s been a long time since we parted company. For me, looking back is not what I am really about.
“Since Newcastle, I have had a fantastic time at Blackburn Rovers and a fantastic time here since then, which is nearly seven years. Time flies doesn’t it?”
Allardyce must do without James Collins (calf), while Guy Demel is a doubt with a similar problem and Kevin Nolan missed the 2-1 defeat to Everton last weekend due to personal reasons.
Carver, meanwhile, has doubts over Massadio Haidara (knee) and Siem de Jong (thigh) as he looks to lead Newcastle to safety.
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