Sky Sports pundit predicts Newcastle v Nottingham Forest

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

Newcastle United play host to Nottingham Forest at St James's Park tonight.

David Prutton has told Sky Sports that he expects Newcastle United to restore normal service to their Premier League promotion bid by bouncing back with a victory over Nottingham Forest at St James's Park tonight.

Newcastle slipped to a shock 1-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day in what Prutton says could and should act as a "kick up the backside".

That result saw the Magpies fail to reclaim top spot in the Championship and now United only boast a six-point cushion in the automatic promotion spots.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez

But Phillipe Montanier's side are hardly ripping up the division.

Nottingham Forest are 16 places and 23 points behind Rafael Benitez's side in 18th spot, with the Reds losing three of their last four league outings - the other being a 1-1 draw away to Preston North End.

And although Prutton does not rule out another shock home defeat for Newcastle, the former midfielder tells Sky Sports that tonight's hosts should, in theory, have too much for Montanier and co.

Newcastle United Manager Rafael Benitez

"I think we will see a reaction. I think Forest have been inconsistent enough for Newcastle to fancy themselves at home even though Sheffield Wednesday went up there and did a job on them. With Newcastle seeing how Brighton are doing and how closely fought it is at the top, this is a game they could, should and will win.

"They cannot be surprised that teams come to St James' Park and give it a good go. We've seen the likes of Wednesday and Blackburn get points there and I'm not saying it is beyond the realms of possibility for Forest to go there and get a result. They have shown they can thrown a spanner in the works.

"Of course, the Magpies need to go back up. If it's as champions, then it's happy days but I think they want the guarantee of just going up so they need to be at the top and keep en eye on who is behind them. After a kick up the backside against Wednesday, they should get back to normal service here."

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