By Wayne Veysey

15th Apr, 2016 | 2:33pm

Mark Lawrenson predicts Newcastle clash against Swansea - this is why there can be optimism

By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Newcastle will emerge victorious in their must-win clash against Swansea at St James’ Park on Saturday, according to Mark Lawrenson.

The former Magpies defence coach is convinced that Rafael Benitez’s team can eke out the victory they need to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation.

This comes after a performance against Southampton last weekend that Lawrenson labelled “embarrassing”.

Newcastle conceded inside five minutes and were 3-0 down before Andros Townsend bagged a consolation goal midway through the second half.

Benitez’s side now face a pivotal clash against Swansea, a game that is virtually a must win if they’re to reduce the six-point gap to Norwich City in 17th. Lawrenson’s prediction is Newcastle 2-1 Swansea

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Ahead of the game, Lawrenson, predicting this weekend’s fixtures on the BBC Sport website, said he thinks United will win 2-1.

He explained: “Newcastle’s performance in their defeat by Southampton was just embarrassing. I think the white flag came out about a minute before kick-off.

“Magpies boss Rafael Benitez said after that game ‘we have got four home games left’, but the problem is they have not won many home games all season – four out of 15.

“Swansea are clear of the relegation zone after last week’s win over Chelsea, and the pressure is off them now.

“They might relax a tiny bit on Saturday, which might help Newcastle a little, although it might also mean Swansea play with more freedom and put in a better display.

“It is hard to predict what we will see from the Welsh side but I am going for a Newcastle win. While they can still stay up, every single game will be their biggest of the season.”

In other Newcastle news, a 30-year-old first-team regular is set to leave the club this summer.