By Will Butcher

Don Hutchison believes Newcastle must keep Rafa Benitez in the managerial hotseat after the Toon gained an instant return to the Premier League.

Newcastle needed three points against Preston on Monday night to gain promotion, and secured just that with a 4-1 triumph at St. James’ Park over Simon Grayson’s side.

Posting on his personal Twitter account as the Magpies secured promotion, former Liverpool and West Ham midfielder Hutchison wants Benitez to stay in the Toon helm.

Hutchison also called on Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to back the former Real Madrid manager in the transfer market as Benitez looks to keep the Toon in the top flight next term.

The Mirror claim Premier League outfit West Ham are eyeing a move to lure Benitez to the London Stadium, despite having a contract with Newcastle until 2019.

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The north east outfit earned all three points on Monday night after goals from Matt Ritchie, Christian Atsu and a brace from Ayoze Perez proved too much for 10-man Preston.

Preston had equalised through Jordan Hugill in the first half after Perez gave Newcastle the lead, before Ghana international Atsu struck just before the half-time whistle.

Things went from bad to worse for the Lilywhites, as attacker Paul Gallagher inexplicably decided to handle on the goalline, allowing Ritchie to score from the penalty spot.

Spaniard Perez rounded off the victory with his 11th goal of the season in all competitions, which has seen the Toon confirm themselves as promoted along with league leaders Brighton.

In other Newcastle news, fans reacted on Twitter to Karl Darlow’s omission from the side.

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