Newcastle’s recent form may have been anything but convincing of late, but tonight’s visitors, Preston North End, arrive with several problems of their own.
Preston represent the final hurdle in Newcastle’s push for promotion to the Premier League and here are some of the issues they’re facing going into tonight’s game:
Key players missing
The Lilywhites look set to field a makeshift defence tonight. Star centre-back Tom Clarke and Full-back Greg Cunningham both ruled out through injury, with right-back Alex Baptiste missing through suspension.
First team midfielder Ben Pearson is also out via suspension, leaving Simon Grayson’s side far from full strength.
Awful away form
Preston are without a win on the road in their last 9, failing to win away from home since their 1-0 win at Burton in January (their only away success of 2017).
Newcastle have had their own issues at home this season and must not be complacent, but the visitors look there for the taking tonight.
On their holidays already?
Preston are 11th in the table, comfortably clear of the drop zone and unable to make the play-offs. They have little left to play for and recent results suggest they may be thinking about their summer holidays already, losing all of their last 3 and conceding 9 in the process.
They will no doubt arrive hoping to the spoil the party, but you’d expect Newcastle’s desire and motivation to be above and beyond that of the visitors.
Recent meetings with Newcastle
Newcastle have faced Preston twice this season, winning both by a combined score of 8-1.
Our away trip to Deepdale resulted in a hard earned 2-1 win, but our 6-0 annihilation of them at St. James’ Park in the cup won’t have been lost on either set of players ahead of this one.
Aside from the opposition, I fully expect the players to give everything tonight. That combined with an electric atmosphere should drive us on to victory.
With the prize at stake, there can be no room for complacency, but the above certainly fills me with hope that an on song Newcastle United would have far too much for Preston tonight.
Here’s hoping we get the job done and are celebrating a return to the top flight come ten o’clock tonight!