'Improvement in every area': Eddie Howe on Newcastle's season opener against Nottingham Forest
Howe meets the media: Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Eddie Howe begins his first full season at Newcastle United as he looks to build on the Magpies' 11th place finish last year.

Newcastle host Nottingham Forest at St. James' Park with goalkeeper Nick Pope arriving from Burnley and left-back Matt Targett from Aston Villa as well as Dutch center-back Sven Botman from LOSC Lille.

In his season-opening preview, Howe discussed the goals for the season, injuries the club are dealing with and the Reds, who are making their first Premier League appearance since 1998/99.

What is the goal for the season?

Howe was asked where he feels the club need to improve if they are to continue the momentum they built at the end of last season, when the Magpies won six of their final eight matches.

"Improvement in every area", he said. "Whether that's with the ball, becoming a bit more free-flowing and dominant, being comfortable in possession, becoming better defensively and expressing our philosophy in every way."

Team news ahead of Forest clash

Howe gave an update on the fitness of certain players ahead of the visit of Nottingham Forest.

"Jonjo Shelvey is in London tonight for another assessment, so we are unsure on him,” he said of the central midfielder's hamstring injury.

The manager also noted that "we're not too bad apart from him. Jamal Lewis and Federico Fernandez are nearly back. Javier Manquillo is back training."

Assessing Forest

Howe noted that he had been able to observe the Reds during their promotion-winning season as well as the pre-season where they won two of their seven matches.

The Toon boss said: "We've had a chance to watch them both last season and during pre-season. They'll be a dangerous opponent. They'll be difficult opponents for us. They've made a number of good signings so their squad is deep."

He also noted the job Steve Cooper has done after taking over at the City Ground, leading them to the top-flight after taking one point from their opening seven games.

"Steve deserves a huge amount of credit,” he said.

”You look at their league position from when he joined and the job that he did. Not only to miss out on automatic promotion but then to deal with that and come through the play-offs."

On new boy Botman

The highly-rated Dutch U-21 impressed in pre-season and Howe noted what makes him the right fit for Newcastle.

He said: "I think he's ready to play. I've seen him during the pre-season and what a talent he is. He's technically very good, very strong and very good defensively.

"His presence and size is there. His technical ability has been there since day one in pre-season and the ability to play short and long passes is there. He's very composed and he's settled in perfectly."