Newly-promoted Newcastle United end their away travels at Cardiff City on Friday seeking a win that will pile some pressure Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.
After eventually securing promotion back to the Premier League on Monday following a 4-1 win against Preston North End, a chance of the title in their sights, though it is out of the Magpies’ hands.
Rafael Benitez’ men must beat Cardiff and hope Brighton fail to beat Bristol City to take the title race to the final day of the season. If that occurs, and that is a big if, United will host Barnsley whilst Chris Hughton’s men travel to Aston Villa.
The Newcastle players will also have their sights on setting a new club record of 14 away wins at the last attempt, having equalled Kevin Keegan’s 1993 promotion side tally of 13 four games ago.
And following negative off the pitch news that has surrounded St James' Park this week, United will be hoping the media turn their attentions back to their performances on the pitch.
Recent form – The Bluebirds hard to beat under Warnock
When Neil Warnock had taken over at the Cardiff City Stadium in October 2016, the Bluebirds were rock bottom of the Championship after 12 games. Since then, Warnock has revitalised Cardiff – moulding them into a difficult team to beat.
Warnock’s magic has seen Cardiff power away from the relegation places to sit 13th place. If results were to go their way, the Bluebirds could finish as high as ninth.
Like Newcastle, Cardiff have only lost three times in their last 10 outings, winning three and drawing four. The Magpies have a slight change in form with four wins and three draws.
But now that the pressure of securing automatic promotion has been lifted off their shoulders, United may just be back to their best of Friday evening.
Last time out – Magpies edge nervy affair
With the sides in somewhat similar form, the earlier season meeting at St James’ Park exampled that despite their league position, Warnock’s men are more than a match for the Magpies.
November’s meeting saw Christian Atsu give United the lead after just three minutes before the Magpies rode pressure from City to add a second just before the break through Yoan Gouffran.
Substitute Peter Whittingham pulled one back for Cardiff with 13 minutes to go to create a tense ending, though the Toon Army held out to make it seven wins in a row and go six points clear at the top of the Championship.
Overall meetings – A fixture that favours a Toon Army win
Newcastle have only lost three of their last 19 encounters with the Bluebirds. And before their 2-1 FA Cup defeat against Cardiff in 2014, the Magpies had won their last seven. They have won nine of the last 10 meetings.
The last time Cardiff defeated Newcastle in league competition stretches back to 1981 in the old Division Two.
According to 11vs11.com, in a total of 55 meetings, the Magpies have won 26, drew 16 and lost 13 times.