By Danny Wright

24th Apr, 2017 | 7:12pm

'Very harsh' - Newcastle fans react as 26-year-old axed from line-up v Preston

By Danny Wright

Newcastle fans have taken to Twitter to give a mixed response to Karl Darlow being dropped from the starting line-up to face Preston.

The 26-year-old has been a mainstay in Rafa Benitez’s team this season but is replaced by Rob Elliot for the promotion showdown at St. James Park on Monday night.

Newcastle announced the team news on their official Twitter page prior to kick-off.

Darlow’s omission from the XI is one of five changes by Benitez as he looks to secure promotion to the Premier League with a victory against Preston.

The shot-stopper has been inconsistent throughout the season and didn’t look to be in great shape during the 3-1 defeat to Ipswich last week.

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However he has still featured in every singe Championship game since September and has made 36 appearances across all competitions, keeping 15 clean sheets.

Elliot, 30, is making his first appearances for the Magpies in over a year after a serious knee injury kept him sidelined for several months.

He has been on the bench for most of the campaign as Darlow has been Benitez’s first choice between the posts.

Most Newcastle fans believe it to be a strange decision by the ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool boss but are excited to see Elliot return for his first appearances of the season.

Here is a selection of tweets from the Toon Army:

Three points for Newcastle will see them achieve an unreachable lead over the chasing pack of Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield.

Brighton’s loss to Norwich last week means that the Championship title is still up for grabs and the Magpies can move within four points of their rivals if they win on Monday night.

In other Newcastle news, a fan favourite has sent a message to the club’s players ahead of the Preston clash.

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