Rafa Benitez has his say on whether promotion should be celebrated by Newcastle

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez says promotion SHOULD be celebrated if Newcastle United secure a return to the Premier League.

A win over Preston North End at St James’s Park tonight would see the club secure the Championship’s second automatic promotion spot.

I am sure everyone will be so pleased and so happy, because in the last five or six years, there are not many teams who have gone down and straight back up.

Rafa Benitez

Newcastle’s closest rivals – Reading and Huddersfield Town – lost at the weekend.

And United need a maximum of three points from their remaining three fixtures to secure a return to the top flight.

The club has no plans for a open-top bus parade, or any high-profile celebration, in the event of promotion.

But Newcastle manager Benitez feels that supporters should enjoy the moment if his team achieves its goal given how few relegated teams have gone straight back up.

Asked if promotion should be celebrated, Benitez said: “I don’t know what we mean by a big celebration?

“I am sure everyone will be so pleased and so happy, because in the last five or six years, there are not many teams who have gone down and straight back up.

“We have to be pleased if we can achieve that.

“The main thing will be to enjoy. I don’t know how much, but to enjoy. Then after that plan for the future.

“You have to celebrate, but maybe you don’t need to do a parade in the city, you can celebrate though and then celebrate for the future.”

Third-placed Reading were beaten 3-2 by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday.

And fourth-placed Huddersfield – who have a game in hand – lost 4-1 at home to Fulham.

United have already beaten Preston twice this season.

Benitez’s side won 2-1 at Deepdale in the league in October. Newcastle also beat Simon Grayson’s side 6-0 at St James’s Park in an EFL Cup tie four days earlier.

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, looking for a recall to the starting XI, scored four goals in the two games.

Brighton and Hove Albion secured promotion on Easter Monday.

There was a pitch invasion at the Amex Stadium as jubilant fans celebrated the achievement of Chris Hughton’s side almost 20 years ago after the club almost dropped out of the Football League.