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Newcastle United Vs Preston North End preview - Are the Toon Army Premier League bound?

Monday 24th April 2017
The Championship has already seen Brighton & Hove Albion guaranteed automatic promotion this season. But Newcastle United are also on the brink of that as well. Tonight's fixture pits them up against the mid-tabled side, Preston North End.

Newcastle will play their game-in-hand tonight and it could confirm their place in the Premier League next season. Even before the match, they are six points ahead of third-placed Reading.  The Magpies goal difference is currently 36 better than the Royals so you'd think Newcastle's promotion would be all but guaranteed tonight.

Huddersfield also has a game-in-hand and are seven points behind Newcastle. So if the Magpies fail to win tonight and Huddersfield win their game-in-hand there will only be a four-point gap with two games to go.

A win tonight would be enough to confirm it, but Rafael Benitez's men will have to stay focused on the task at hand. For Preston, they are just playing for some final points. They are in no trouble of relegation and can't reach the playoff positions.

Preston have not won in their last three games. Losing 3-1 to Norwich, 3-2 to Huddersfield and 3-0 to Leeds. Newcastle also hav not won in their last three outings. Losing 3-1 to Ipswich, drawing 1-1 to Leeds and losing 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday. Both teams will be willing to turn things around in these last few games of the season.
Newcastle will be without with the Dwight Gayle through injury who has scored 22 goals for them this season. They have a selection of players to choose from in attack such as Daryl Murphy and Aleksander Mitrovic. Ciaran Clark is set to make a return from a knee injury since March.

Preston will have Tyias Browning back in contention after suffering a knee injury but Alex Baptiste will still miss out due to suspension. Simon Grayson is hopeful to put a dent in Newcastle's hopes of promotion by stalling their successful campaign.

Newcastle's Mohamed Diame is one yellow card away from his 5th and Matt Ritchie is one away from his 10th. These two need to be careful as the final games could prove important. For Preston, they have two players on four yellow cards -central midfielder, Daniel Johnson and left winger, Callum Robinson.

A 19:45 P.M. kick-off at St James' Park will certainly be watched by many. This game will prove to be pivotal in Newcastle United's future and a win tonight would make everybody in the "Toon" a very happy fan again. The last time Newcastle were in the top flight was two seasons ago. They finished 18th and ever since March 2016, Rafael Benitez has been in charge.
Persistence really pays off if you can trust a manager to do a good job. The Spanish manager brought in the likes of Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame, DeAndre Yedlin and Daryl Murphy. Benitez also brought in Cristian Atsu on loan for the season from Chelsea. Rafa showcased this season just not what he can do for his team, but what he can do financially for the club.

He managed to sell Andros Townsend for £13M to Crystal Palace, Georginio Wijnaldum to Liverpool for £25M and Moussa Sissoko to Spurs for a whopping £30M. The Newcastle manager sold a few others which totalled sales of the season for £87M despite spending £57M. This leads a season profit of £30M.

With the season Newcastle United have had so far, a result tonight would reignite the joy of what the Magpies will have wanted. Redemption for a brighter future and all eyes will be watching tonight at St James' Park.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.


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