Newcastle v Barnsley preview: Toon aiming for title
Last Updated: 05/05/17 5:27pm
Promoted Newcastle will not be at full strength against Barnsley as they look to better Brighton's result and take the Sky Bet Championship title.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles will not be leading the effort as he recovers from a groin operation and influential winger Matt Ritchie is suspended.
Top-scorer Dwight Gayle is eager to feature after resting a hamstring complaint at Cardiff last time out, while Rolando Aarons, Jesus Gamez and Grant Hanley are doubts. Rob Elliot is set to remain in goal after returning from a 13-month absence for the last two matches.
Barnsley will be without captain Marc Roberts again, while on-loan striker Adam Armstrong is ineligible to face his parent club. Roberts missed last weekend's home draw against Burton due to an ankle injury so Adam Jackson will resume his partnership with Angus MacDonald in central defence.
Midfielder Alex Mowatt, plus wingers Ryan Williams and Ryan Hedges, are pushing for starting places. Right-back Andy Yiadom (shoulder), left-back Aidy White (pelvis) and midfielder Sessi D'Almeida (knee) remain sidelined as the Reds bid to finish 12th in their first season back in the Championship.
The Magpies haven't lost a match against Barnsley at St. James' Park in all competitions since September 1982, winning eight and drawing three since.
The Tykes have conceded at least twice in each of their last six league matches against Newcastle, conceding 20 goals in total at an average of 3.3 per game.
This will be Rafael Benitez's second home game as a manager against Barnsley - his only previous match came in February 2008, when Liverpool lost 2-1 to the Tykes at Anfield in the FA Cup fifth round.
Barnsley have won nine away league games this season - they have never won 10 in a second-tier league season in their entire history.
If Brighton win, there is nothing Newcastle can do. I still think they will beat Barnsley, they have been very professional all season and that continues until the final day.
It's been a wonderful campaign for Barnsley, who have consolidated after losing so many players. But because of what's at stake for Newcastle, I think they win.
DAVID PRUTTON PREDICTS: 2-0 (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)