Steve Bruce has urged his Newcastle players to focus on the task of securing the club's Premier League status when they return to action against Sheffield United on Sunday.
The Magpies had collected 35 points by the time the season drew to a temporary close in March and, with nine games remaining, still have work to do to ease their way over the line.
They will hope to edge closer by completing a double over the Blades at an empty St James' Park, and their head coach is urging them not to think too far ahead despite the ongoing takeover talk on Tyneside.
Bruce said: "Look, we've still got a lot to do, in my opinion. We've got to secure our Premier League status - that has been my objective since I walked through the door, that's absolutely paramount for a club of our size.
"We've got ourselves in a decent position, that's all it is. We've got nine to play, we've got five out of the bottom six to play, so it's all to play for, as they say."
The Magpies won 2-0 at Bramall Lane in the reverse fixture in December on a night when Jonjo Shelvey's controversial strike sealed victory.
However, Chris Wilder's men have enjoyed a fine first season back in the top flight - they currently sit in sixth place on 44 points - and Bruce knows another win could be a big ask.
He said: "I've got nothing but the highest praise for Chris and what he's achieved. It's been quite remarkable and it will be difficult.
"We couldn't have wished for a more difficult game as the first one up. But we beat them before at Bramall Lane, let's hope we can do it again in front of an, unfortunately, empty St James' Park."
Allan Saint-Maximin opened the scoring in the red half of Sheffield and Bruce will hope the Frenchman returns in enterprising form having kept his skills up to scratch during lockdown by dribbling around his dog at home.
The 59-year-old said with a smile: "That wouldn't surprise me. I've seen little bits and pieces and his garden was totally wrecked. Whether it's the dog or whether it's Allan, I'm not quite sure.
"But it wouldn't surprise me that he's been playing against his dog because the one thing about Allan is he enjoys playing and certainly enjoys dribbling, so let's hope he dribbles well on Sunday."
2007/08: Premier League position: 12th. FA Cup: 4th round. League Cup: 3rd round. Top scorer: Michael Owen, 13. Managers: Sam Allardyce, Nigel Pearson, Kevin Keegan. Synopsis: the first season of the Mike Ashley era sees the new owner sack Allardyce and, much to the delight of fans, bring back Kevin Keegan for his second spell as manager. An unbeaten seven-game run in March/April secures the club's top-flight status. But cracks were already appearing between Keegan and Ashley over the club's direction. Getty
2008/09: PL position: 18th, relegated. FA Cup: 4th round. League Cup: 3rd round. Top scorer: Michael Owen, 10. Managers: Kevin Keegan, Chris Hughton, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer. Synopsis: complete chaos all season. Keegan walks out in September due to club's transfer policy and would later win £2 million in damages from the club after winning a case for constructive dismissal. Kinnear is brought in as a temporary measure but is forced to leave due to heart problems in February. After Hughton's second stint as caretaker, Alan Shearer is appointed for last eight games. But even the club's record goalscorer cannot rescue dire situation and Newcastle are relegated. They won just seven out of 38 games and Ashley puts club up for sale during a catastrophic campaign.
2009/10: Championship position: 1st, champions. FA Cup: 4th round. League Cup 3rd round. Top scorer: Andy Carroll, 19. Manager: Chris Hughton. Promotion sealed at the first time of asking under the likeable Hughton. The team finishes with 102 points - 11 clear of West Bromwich Albion, losing only four games all season.
2010/11: Premier League position: 12th. FA Cup: 3rd round. League Cup: 4th round. Top scorer: Kevin Nolan, 12. Managers: Chris Hughton, Alan Pardew. Synopsis: Hughton is sacked in December, despite the team sitting comfortably in mid-table, after securing impressive wins over Aston Villa, Arsenal and local rivals Sunderland. Pardew, whose last job was at then third-tier club Southampton, is the surprise replacement. Local hero and top scorer Andy Carroll is sold to Liverpool despite Pardew saying he was not for sale. Getty
2011/12: PL position: 5th. FA Cup: 4th round. League Cup: 4th round. Top scorer: Demba Ba, 16. Manager: Alan Pardew. Synopsis: the most successful season of Ashley's reign after the team secured a top-five finish and a place in the Europa League. The likes of Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse prove quality signings and Pardew wins Manager of the Year award. Ashley, though, still manages to enrage the fans by renaming Newcastle's St James' Park ground the Sports Direct Arena, after his sportswear company. Getty
2012/13: PL position: 16th. FA Cup: 3rd round. League Cup: 3rd round. Europa League: quarter-finals. Top scorer: Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, 13. Manager: Alan Pardew. Synopsis: Pardew signs eight-year contract, as team enjoys decent run in Europa League that is ended against Benfica in the last eight. League form is disastrous, though. Key striker Ba sold in January after Chelsea trigger £7 million release clause. Forced into January panic buying to try and secure top-flight status as French players Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara all join with varying degrees of success. Getty
2013/14: PL position: 10th. FA Cup: 3rd round. League Cup: 4th round. Top scorer: Loic Remy, 14. Manager: Alan Pardew. Synopsis: controversial pay-day money lenders Wonga take over as shirt sponsors as, to widespread disbelief, Joe Kinnear returns to the club as director of football. Team is reliant on the goals of on-loan striker Remy as no money is spent on new signings after the previous campaign's expenditure. Fan unrest against Pardew grows. Getty
2014/15: PL position: 15th. FA Cup: 3rd round. League Cup: 5th round. Top scorer: Papiss Cisse, 11. Synopsis: Pardew, who had lost backing of the fans, leaves job to take over at Crystal Palace in new year. His Tyneside-born assistant, John Carver, takes over dream job. It does not go well as the team goes on miserable run of eight straight defeats and only secure their top-flight survival after beating West Ham 2-0 on the final day. Getty
2015/16: PL position: 18th, relegated. FA Cup: 3rd round. League Cup: 3rd round. Top scorer: Georginio Wijnaldum, 11. Managers: Steve McClaren, Rafa Benitez. Synopsis: former England manager McClaren proves a disastrous appointment as the club slump to the foot of the table and he is sacked in March. Champions League-winning manager Benitez is brought in with 10 games to go. Despite three wins and three draws in their last six games, the team are relegated for the second time under Ashley. Getty
2016/17: Championship position: 1st, champions. FA Cup: 5th round. League Cup: 4th round. Top scorer: Dwight Gayle, 23. Manager: Rafa Benitez. Synopsis: the vociferous support of fans helps persuade Benitez to stay on in the second tier. Once again, promotion was sealed at the first time of asking. Magpies edge out Brighton to title on final day of the season after beating Barnsley 3-0 in front of a bouncing St James' Park and the Seagulls concede a late goal to draw with Aston Villa. Getty
2017/18: Premier League position: 10th. FA Cup 4th round. League Cup: 2nd round. Top scorer: Ayoze Perez, 10. Manager: Rafa Benitez. Synopsis: Supremely organised and hard to beat under their Spanish manager, Newcastle finish in the top half of the table, despite a run of one win in 10 matches at the end of 2017. The season ends with a superb 3-0 win over Chelsea as Ashley released a statement thanking Benitez for his "magnificent achievement". The former Valencia, Liverpool and Real Madrid manager agrees to remain for another season. Getty
2018/19: PL position: 13th. FA Cup: 4th round. League Cup 3rd round. Top scorer: Ayoze Perez, 13. Manager: Rafa Benitez. Synopsis: Another mid-table finish as the goals of Perez and loan signing Solomon Rondon help steer the club away from relegation. Despite the club-record £21m signing of Paraguayan attacker Miguel Almiron in January, and the unwavering backing of the fans, Benitez grows increasingly frustrated at what he perceives as club's lack of ambition. A 4-0 win at Fulham on the last day of the season proves his last match in charge as heads for a new, lucrative job in China. PA
2019/20: PL position before league suspended due to coronavirus: 13th. FA Cup: quarter-finals. League Cup: 2nd round. Manager: Steve Bruce. Synopsis: Fan fury over the exit of Rafa Benitez and apathy at the appointment of Steve Bruce, who leaves second-tier Sheffield Wednesday to take over at his boyhood team, is clear as attendances drop to their lowest for eight years. The club transfer record is smashed again when they pay £40m for striker Joelinton, who goes on to score one goal in 25 games. Newcastle reach their first FA Cup quarter-final since 2006 before the season is suspended due to coronavirus. News emerges in April that Ashley is close to selling club for around £300m to a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium. Getty