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Newcastle United v Preston North End- Is St James' set for promotion celebrations?

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With the race for the Championship title virtually over, Newcastle simply have to get themselves "over the line". It really is simple, win and they are promoted. 

Ipswich Town v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Newcastle United fans will be hoping promotion is clinched with a victory on Monday night.

Newcastle have received a massive boost with Rafa Benitez confirming that Ciaran Clark is back in training and in contention to start for the first time since last month. He has been kept out with a medial ligament injury. He will likely reform his partnership with captain Jamaal Lascelles, who has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks.

Vurnon Anita had played at right-back in the absence of DeAndre Yedlin, but lost his place to the American at Portman Road. He will be hoping to get the nod again after a poor defensive display from the Magpies in that fixture.

Rolando Aarons, who has had a knee ligament problem of his own, is also training and may yet be considered for a place on the bench.

Matt Ritchie will start as always, but it is a toss-up between Yoan Gouffran and Christian Atsu for the other wing berth. The Ghanian did provide the assist for Daryl Murphy's goal at Portman Road.

Dwight Gayle however, is not ready and instead will be hoping to make his comeback next week when the team travel to Wales to play Cardiff City. Daryl Murphy started in the defeat at Ipswich, and scored, but faces a fight to keep his place with Aleksandar Mitrovic pushing to start.

Ipswich Town v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Aleksandar Mitrovic was a used substitute in the dismal defeat at Ipswich.
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

North End boss Simon Grayson will be unable to call upon defenders Greg Cunningham or Tom Clarke for the visit to St James' Park. The pair will likely miss the rest of the season. Andrew Boyle is therefore likely to keep his place in the heart of defence, with Tommy Spurr slotting in at left-back.

Former Middlesbrough man Alex Baptiste will not be available as he serves a suspension. The same goes for midfielder Ben Pearson.

On-loan Everton defender Tyias Browning could be ready to return to the side, after he resumed full training during the week. It is likely he will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Aiden McGeady and Tom Barkhuizen have been stand-out performers for the Lancashire-based club and will provide threat from the flanks.

Huddersfield Town v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Aiden McGeady has scored 8 times for the visitors this season.
Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Jordan Hugill is the club's top goal-scorer this season with 11 and will definitely start the game. He has been partnered in recent games by former Aston Villa player Callum Robinson, which will probably remain the case at St James' Park.

Likely line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran, Mitrovic

Preston: Maxwell, Vermijl, Huntington, Boyle, Spurr, Barkhuizen, Browne, Gallagher, McGeady, Hugill, Robinson

Score prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Preston North End

The match has been selected for Sky Sports coverage. You can also follow by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle's live match commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website.