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How Newcastle United and Mike Ashley face their week of reckoning, both on and off the pitch

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Ashley and Newcastle therefore face a week of reckoning, both on and off the pitch.

The next seven days may not only prove season-defining for Newcastle United, they may go a long way towards shaping the club's long-term future, too.

The FA Cup third-round replay against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Tuesday night is, rather frustratingly, a largely insignificant distraction during a six-day period when reinforcements must start arriving, and then Newcastle simply have to defeat Cardiff City at St James' Park.



Mike Ashley's return to the scene on Saturday was intriguing - and fans, as well as manager Rafa Benitez, can only pray that, for once, he heeds the warning signs which have been presented to him.

A couple of offensive reinforcements this week would not only give United a point of difference against the Bluebirds - which in turn may help deliver a precious three points - but it would also provide a huge lift for everyone on Tyneside, particularly if the 13-and-a-half-year-old transfer record went in the process.

Make no mistake, the next seven days really could make or break Newcastle's season - and determine the course of their long-term future.

Ayoze Perez and Joselu are the only other Newcastle players who have netted more than once this term, and only seven players in total have scored in the Premier League for the Magpies.
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