‘Newcastle United fans must be realistic’ – Magpies hero Harper hopeful of promotion to the Premier League but urges caution
The Magpies lost their top-flight status at the end of the last campaign following a dismal time under Steve McClaren.
But now, with Rafa Benitez at the helm and a selection of promising transfers this summer, supporters are confident they can return to the Premier League immediately.
Harper though, has insisted they must remain realistic about their chances in a league as tough as the Championship.
“There are some good signs there,” he told the Weekend Sports Breakfast.
“They’ve lost Georginio Wijnaldum and the Championship is a tough league but they’ve made good signings and they’re rightly favourites – but it won’t be easy.
“I’ve seen some daft bets that they will go the season unbeaten but there needs to be a bit of realism. It will be tough for Newcastle but they just have to get out of that league, whether they win it, come second or go up through the play-offs. They just have to get up.
“We won it last time and people think it was easy because we won it by a dozen points or so but it wasn’t, it was tough. You have to be streetwise and clever, hopefully Newcastle can be those things and get out of the Championship at the first attempt.”
And Harper was quick to praise the affect manager Benitez has had on the club since his arrival, despite being unable to save them from relegation.
He added: “[Rafa Benitez] has big club experience with Liverpool and Real Madrid. He just gets it. He know what it means to the people.
“The little things he’s done, like getting involved in the academy and the community and the foundation, people appreciate that and the little things add up.
“He’s made a good start and that feel good factor is there, and let’s hope it stays next season.”