Harper hails Ireland break
Newcastle keeper Steve Harper has put their change in fortune down to the club's summer trip to Ireland. Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League last season and endured a summer of uncertainty with doubts over the long-term future of the club. With owner Mike Ashley still seeking a new buyer for the club, caretaker boss Chris Hughton has quietly gone about his job, leading the Magpies to the top of the Championship table. During a turbulent pre-season, which included a 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient, the club took a break in Dublin to re-charge with a pre-season tour, and Harper believes it was the turning point in their fortunes. "It does feel like a special atmosphere in the dressing room," he told The Journal. "I think the trip to Ireland did us the world of good. "It really brought us closer together as a squad, we got some really good training in and we got our heads around the situation we were in and what we could do about it. "We have bonded really well and we are a strong group." After their bright start to life in the second tier, Newcastle have been made odds-on to return to the Premier League with speculation over the club's long-term manager quietening as Hughton continues to find results.
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