The Magpies are nearly home and dry. They may trail Championship leaders Brighton & Hove Albion by seven points and won't be too confident of closing that gap before the end of the season, however three points tonight would propel Rafael Benitez's men straight back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Newcastle's recent form has seen them fall behind in the Championship title race with just a single point secured from their last three games. Defeats to Sheffield United and Ipswich as well as a draw with Leeds United aren't the sort of results that win titles and the Magpies must surely settle for second place, assuming that they don't slip-up at this late stage of the season.
Reading's weekend defeat means that only Huddersfield Town can mathematically catch up with Newcastle although seven points remain between the sides and it would certainly be a major shock were this to happen. Nevertheless the Magpies cannot be complacent and the recent form of Benitez's men's been far from convincing. As such, only the very foolhardy would lump on them to clinch the three points tonight at the extremely short 1/2 odds.
Preston North End may have lost three on the bounce heading into tonight's clash and any slim hopes they had of reaching the play-offs have long since disappeared, however the Magpies are struggling for points at the moment and we'll be opting for what appears decent value by backing Simon Grayson's men to hold the home side to a draw at St James' Park, and thus boost Huddersfield's chances of narrowing the gap on second place.