'A case of the jitters' – Sky Sports pundit makes Newcastle promotion claim
By Will Butcher
Tony Gale believes Newcastle’s recent blip in form will not affect them in their hunt for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
The Toon have tasted victory just twice in their last eight outings, losing to Ipswich Town 3-1 on Monday at Portman Road as Brighton gained promotion seven points clear at the top.
With three games to go, Newcastle are six points in front of third placed Reading and would probably need to lose all three remaining games if the Royals were to overtake them.
However, Gale claimed he cannot see that happening and believes Rafa Benitez’s side will stumble over the line and gain an instant return to the Premier League.
“They’re getting a case of the jitters but they’ll do enough to get over the line; I can’t say them losing three games,” Gale told Sky Sports News’ Premier League Daily Show on Tuesday [10am].
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“It’s too much for the other teams to catch up, I can’t see that happening. But any team in the championship can beat the ones at the top, that’s the beauty of the league.”
The Magpies could have seen their seven-point lead over Huddersfield drop to only five points on Monday, but Huddersfield failed to hold on to a win during their 1-1 draw against Derby.
Newcastle will secure promotion back to the Premier League if they can beat Simon Grayson’s Preston on Saturday at St. James’ Park, with three Championship games still to play.
Benitez will be hoping to make it three wins out of three against Preston this season, after demolishing the Lilywhites 6-0 in the EFL Cup before winning 2-1 in the league at Deepdale.
In other Newcastle news, Alan Curbishley has also given his verdict on the Toon’s promotion chances.