By Danny Wright

24th Apr, 2017 | 7:06pm

Confirmed Newcastle line-up v Preston: Mainstay axed in five changes

By Danny Wright

Rafa Benitez has made five changes to his Newcastle side to face Preston as they look to secure promotion at St. James’ Park on Monday night.

Karl Darlow has been axed from the team despite being a mainstay in the squad this season after the 3-1 loss to Ipswich last week.

Rob Elliot lines up in goal as Ciaran Clark, Vurnon Antina, Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic all return to action.

Newcastle confirmed the news on their official Twitter account ahead of kick-off.

A win for Benitez’s side would complete an instant return to the Premier League and would also pile pressure on Brighton, who are bidding to lift the Championship title.

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Third-placed Reading are six points adrift of the Magpies while Huddersfield, who have a game in hand on their promotion rivals, are seven points off the pace.

However three points would mean that Newcastle can create an unreachable gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

The Tynesiders can move within four points of Brighton with two games left to play if they are victorious against Preston, who have lost all five of their previous meetings with the Toon.

Preston are currently 11th in the Championship standings and will move up two places if they can grab an unexpected win in the North East.

In other Newcastle news, the Magpies have joined a Premier League club in a race to sign this £12million-rated forward.

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