Eddie Howe expects no drop in standards as Newcastle march towards Premier League safety

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NEWCASTLE: Matt Targett has revealed he hopes Newcastle United can make his loan switch from Aston Villa permanent.

The defender arrived in January for an initial six-month loan spell, and has impressed with his defensive solidity and attacking output.

Talk has been rife of a permanent deal in the summer, with some reports suggesting the Magpies have already have a pre-arranged fee in place for the next window.

Targett, who was also a favorite at Villa Park until the big money arrival of Lucas Digne in the winter window, admits he wants to remain at St. James’ Park beyond the end of the season.

“It has been great fun, I have really enjoyed my time here,” he said.

“The boys and staff have welcomed me, the fans have been brilliant with me, so I can only speak highly about the club, I have really enjoyed my time so we will see what happens.

“I hope something does get sorted.”

Targett was arguably United’s man of the match on Tuesday against Crystal Palace — and that was not lost on head coach Eddie Howe.

He said: “He was very good again. Crystal Palace have very good wide players and he dealt very well. He stuck to his task, his positioning was very good and his use of the ball was excellent, especially in the first half when we controlled the game. Very good display from Matt.”

Targett agrees that the performance was up there with the best he has produced in black and white.

“Yes, I would say so,” said the former Fulham and Southampton man.

“Defensively, I was really solid, and put in one free kick for Joelinton at the start of the second half, so, yes, I was pleased. But you have to change the way you play when you have someone like Maxi (Allan Saint-Maximin) in front of you.

“It is all about getting the right balance for the team. Each game is different. Maxi or whoever is in front of me but I am really enjoying my time here. It has been good fun.”

When Targett joined United they were deep in relegation trouble. Now, on 40 points and with bottom-placed Norwich City to come, the Magpies can look forward to another season in the top flight.

Players talk, and when asked whether his former teammates at Villa had commented on Howe’s impact and the renaissance at United, Targett said: “Everyone says how well the manager and the players here have done in turning it around. I think this was quite a dark, dark place until the new owners came in. That brought a new lease of life.

“The fans lifted the players and we have not looked back since then. It has been a massive turnaround.”

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