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Newcastle and Norwich are proof there's more than one way to deal with Premier League relegation

The Magpies and Canaries have very different visions on the best way to fly back into the big time.

Newcastle-United-Matt-Ritchie Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez and Alex Neil have precious little in common besides job titles.

The Newcastle boss hails from Madrid, has managed some of the world's biggest clubs and has a wealth of experience from his 42 years in football.

Neil, by contrast, comes from North Lanarkshire, arrived from Hamilton and is still only 35 years old.

The differences between the two also extend to their squad-building methods.

The Newcastle team that starts tomorrow will be very different to the one that lost 3-2 at Carrow Road less than six months ago.

For one thing, six of the starters from that game have left the club and been replaced.

Daryl Janmaat, Steven Taylor, Andros Townsend, Moussa Sissoko, Gini Wijnaldum and Papiss Cisse are all history.

In their stead are a host of new faces as Benitez has overhauled the squad.

Now, Dwight Gayle possesses the number nine shirt, Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran are key contributors and trying to guess the line-up is an exercise in futility.

Everyone knew the Rafalution would herald some major changes but the sheer breadth has been staggering.

Part of that is due to the want of certain players to escape a sinking ship.

But a large element of it also comes down to his desire to create a new mentality around the club.

When Sissoko left, it was met with joy by fans who had grown tired of seeing half-hearted performances.

Despite a few adverse results, things appear to be moving in the right direction.

There’s increased competition for places, both by bring in new faces and re-integrating old ones.

A man whose appearance on the teamsheet brought despair last year, Gouffran has been the surprise of the season.

The Frenchman’s rejuvenation is an example of Benitez’s ability to mix things up and still get the best out of players.

Depth is key in the Championship where the games come thick and fast.

A core group is starting to emerge but you could conceivably field two entirely different teams for consecutive teams if you wanted to.

While some reel off statistics about when Benitez last fielded the same starting lineup in back-to-back games, he is all about situational football.

Guillem Balague has previously written about the fact that when with Valencia, his teams had five different ways of defending.

Benitez has built a squad capable of promotion by combining new and old, hunger and ability, tactical nous and in-game intelligence.

His spending spree has given the squad an overhaul, a Championship-ready look.

That contrasts with Norwich, who have largely kept the same squad as last season.

While Neil has had to be more frugal, he has faith the current Canaries crop can clinch promotion.

If Benitez’s summer was one of revolution, the Norwich manager was more focused on evolution.

Of the club’s six signings, only Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern has featured regularly.

Rather than turning the squad over completely, Neil has trimmed the playing staff back.

But with a large squad still at his disposal, Norwich have found their way to the top of the table.

They have also made it to the last 16 of the EFL Cup as the continuity of the group has led to good results.

Thus far, seven Norwich players have started seven of their nine league games.

Neil sees his side’s strength is in its unity and the Canaries are flying.

Tomorrow’s clash will see two teams that will in all likelihood be challenging for promotion go head-to-head.

And regardless of the result, they have already have shown there might be more than one way to escape the Championship.