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.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 24, 2017
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.
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:
Didn't see Rafa dropping Darlow, big move, I wonder if he'd trust any of the keepers in the premier league or if he wants someone new ????
— Danny Roberts (@dannyJroberts26) April 24, 2017
Wow, don't think Darlow deserved to be dropped…. but I'm confident our Champions League winning manager knows what he is doing
— NewcastleFan (@NufcFan12) April 24, 2017
Darlow on bench ????????????????
— Daniel Barfield (@_DanielBarfield) April 24, 2017
Darlow finally dropped.
— MOG (@oinkbaamoo) April 24, 2017
Good to see Elliot back!
— Ewan Welford (@EwanWelford) April 24, 2017
Is @KarlDarlow injured?! Seems a very odd change. Clark badly needed, just hope he's not being risked for the sake of 3 points
— Rich Harle (@RJHarle) April 24, 2017
Rate Elliot but does Darlow deserve to be dropped ????
— Rob Thompson (@RobThompsonNUFC) April 24, 2017
Darlow plays all season but doesn't get the chance to clinch promotion. Very harsh #nufc
— Shane Kearley (@srkearley) April 24, 2017
Feel for Darlow, but got every faith in Elliot #HWTL ⚽️
— pete griffin (@PeterGriffin96) April 24, 2017
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.