The stage is set and all we need now is for the Newcastle players to turn up.
A strange season that has ended up resembling more of an obstacle course than a procession, sees Newcastle United on the verge of a return to the Premier League only 11 months after relegation was confirmed.
A victory over Preston would be enough to see Rafa Benitez and his players over the finishing line and a job well done, at least for the Manager and a core group of players.
Currently on 85 points after 43 matches, a final total of 90+ points would be a nice way to crown things off, with now even still a small chance of ending up as champions.
Brighton, Reading and Huddersfield went into the weekend as first, third & fourth, and all have lost.
These Newcastle players will never get a better chance to go out at St James Park and have such a platform to be instant heroes.
Never mind what has gone before and how some of these players have repeatedly let us down this season, they have this perfect chance to persuade the fans, rest of the squad, and especially Rafa Benitez, that they have the character and ability to play for Newcastle beyond May.
We have all seen Newcastle players in the past who looked hopeless cases, only to then find a starting point to resurrect and rebuild their careers at St James Park.
What I would say though, is if they can’t do it in this Monday night match then they are really a waste of space and need binned as soon as possible.
A packed home stadium, what is set to be a class atmosphere, up against a team in Preston who have nothing to play for, with the chance of sealing promotion in front of fifty two thousand of your own fans – all of this under the lights at St James Park.
If there are any Newcastle players who can’t respond to that then they are really at the wrong club.
Not forgetting as well that this is second tier opposition, so what hope could you have for any Newcastle players in the Premier League if they can’t get up for this tomorrow night?
As well as being hopefully a night of celebration (and relief), this is also an audition for so many of this Newcastle team.
Interesting to see who can pass the test.
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