Tyias Browning is desperately hoping to be involved in Monday’s match at St James Park.
The Everton defender is on loan at Preston and could return after seven weeks on the injured list, with Simon Grayson having arranged a special practice match to help the player towards match fitness.
The 22 year old was handed a new two and a half year contract before moving temporarily to Preston and says the Newcastle game will be a ‘nice’ one to come back for, with so much riding on it for Newcastle.
As for Preston, they can finish as high as eighth and as low as sixteenth, being one of nine clubs separated by only nine points, none of them able to be promoted or relegated.
Nevertheless, Tyias Browning says that Manager Simon Grayson is desperate to finish as high as possible and currently in tenth, only two points off eighth, it has been an excellent season for Preston and they don’t want it to just fade away.
Two reserve teams played each other back in October at St James Park in the League Cup, that 6-0 win was a measure of the difference in squad strengths bit a few days later United were fortunate to escape from Deepdale with a 2-1 win (two Mitro goals) when Preston had arguably been the better team.
Hopefully the Newcastle players will simply want it more, as well as having better quality match winners, though that hasn’t been apparent in many recent games, as only seven goals have been scored in the last eight games, with only two wins, and only on one occasion have NUFC scored more than one goal (2-1 v Wigan).
Whilst Dwight Gayle is still not ready to come back, Rafa Benitez confirmed today that Ciaran Clark is now back in full training and is hoping he will be available for Monday.
“It has been a long seven weeks and I dealt with it a lot better than my last injury because that was a long one. It’s nice to be back training again and back in the mix.
“It (Newcastle) is a nice game to come back into, a competitive game and one they need to win. We need to finish as high as we can so it’ll be a good experience.
“I needed it (practice game arranged to get him match fit). Obviously, I haven’t had as much football as I would have liked. That was the best I could have had without having a competitive game.
“Newcastle will come out all guns blazing and we are very up for it. I am sure it’ll be a tough game.
“The Championship is unpredictable and you don’t know what you are going to get. Anyone can beat anyone in the Championship. Hopefully we can do the same on Monday.
“Newcastle did us over earlier in the season and hopefully it will be a different result.
“There is no easy game really. You have got to be ready.
“The gaffer wants to finish as high as we can and a top half of the table finish would be a success season for the club.
“He doesn’t want us to let us fizzle out and lose concentration in the last few games. He wants us to be on it right until the very end.”