Leicester and QPR games great chances for Newcastle to secure safety

Newcastle Utd - Gate

Although there are other teams in greater trouble, the worrying form of John Carver's side cannot be ignored as they assess their remaining fixtures.

Just five games remain for Newcastle United in this season's Barclays Premier League. It has been a campaign involving varying degrees of tension, and while they have never reached a satisfactory level of performance, equally, the club have always done enough to keep the dreaded 'r' word at arm's length. Until now.

A first league win didn't arrive until October and then manager Alan Pardew faced a barrage of verbal abuse and a sea of 'Pardew Out' signs at every home game. From nowhere Pardew strung a run of six straight victories together to quieten the protest, but since November, just four league victories have left the fanbase bristling and Sunday's mass boycott of the home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur was the inevitable result.

Now Newcastle sit in 14th place on 35 points and a clear seven points away from the drop zone. However, three of the four teams immediately below them have a game in hand, and Newcastle themselves are currently enduring a run of six straight defeats under interim manager John Carver.

With the teams below picking up vital points it will only take that run continuing for one more game for the alarm bells to really start ringing. For now, the magical 40 points barrier seems a distant target, but the good news is that Newcastle have some presentable fixtures amid their run-in.

The Geordies' remaining games are: Swansea (home), Leicester (away), West Brom (home), QPR (away), West Ham (home).

All of those look winnable on paper, and the key games look to be the two away visits to Leicester and QPR, the two fixtures against teams currently below them in the table. Newcastle have mixed fortunes against teams in and around them in the bottom half of the table, having beaten Aston Villa at the end of February, but lost to Sunderland at the beginning of this month.

It could be argued that the derby fixture against Sunderland represents an occasion where the form book counts for little, and certainly Newcastle can take some comfort from the fact that their run of six consecutive defeats has come in tough individual fixtures against Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal, Sunderland, Liverpool and Tottenham. 

With the fans' boycott out of the way and the message to the board well and truly made, Carver will be hoping the fans are back in numbers for the vital home fixtures coming up, all of which are against teams with little to play for. 

You feel if Newcastle can grab a win in two of those three home games, and avoid defeat in the away fixtures with Leicester and QPR, they should be safe.

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