Newcastle United have been a few points shy of Premier League safety for almost a month now, but an upcoming run of difficult fixtures means they may yet find themselves under pressure.
Rafa Benitez’s side currently sit in 15th place on 35 points, seven points above the drop zone.
It was widely thought the side would need just 38 points to survive this season, but the Toon’s display against Crystal Palace showed that getting over the line isn’t easy.
Cardiff currently sit in 18th place above relegated Fulham and Huddersfield, and need two wins and a draw to catch up to Newcastle.
But with bottom half strugglers such as Brighton, Burnley and Fulham still to play, there’s every chance the Welsh side can make Newcastle sweat.
MORE NEWCASTLE STORIES
The Toon’s next few fixtures are anything but easy, and Benitez could well find himself fighting for survival on the final day of the season.
Newcastle’s upcoming fixtures
Newcastle have now just five games left to play in the league, from which they ideally need five points.
Their matches in order are against Leicester, Southampton, Brighton, Liverpool and Fulham.
The good news for Newcastle is that they have an already relegated Fulham on the last day of the season.
However, to avoid a nervy finish, they need to be safe long before then.
Unfortunately the Toon also face Liverpool, Brighton and Southampton.
The Saints and Albion are fellow relegation strugglers, meaning they are likely to be cagey, tense affairs.
Liverpool meanwhile will likely still be in a title fight, and you wouldn’t fancy Newcastle to stand in their way.
Finally their is Leicester to play next week, a team who look revitalised under Brendan Rodgers.
They have won all of their last four PL matches, firing themselves into 7th place.
Given Newcastle’s current form, its not an appetising set of fixtures, but they need one of them to be a guaranteed win.
Newcastle’s must wins
It’s safe to say that to avoid a tense finish, Newcastle must defeat Southampton or Brighton.
Brighton have two games in hand over Newcastle and play Bournemouth and Cardiff in quick succession next week.
They sit in 16th place on 33 points and are also in the relegation battle.
But if Albion can pick up wins in those next two fixtures, they might be safe before their game against the Toon.
This would be a benefit to Newcastle as they really struggled against Brighton earlier in the season.
Chris Hughton can organise a side just as well as Benitez, and if they shut up shop to savage points, Newcastle will be in trouble.
Interestingly, Newcastle were without Salomon Rondon in the reverse fixture, yet spent the majority of it crossing balls into the box.
If they are forced to resort to similar play later this month, the tactic should have more success with Rondon.
Then there is Southampton, who despite looking revitalised, could be Newcastle’s best shot at three points.
Although they’ve beaten Spurs and almost shocked Man United in recent games, they’re finding relegation scraps tougher.
The Saints lost at home to Cardiff in February and only narrowly beat Brighton 1-0 in March.
Newcastle will also play Southampton at St James’ Park, meaning the odds are in their favour.
Hopefully Rafa Benitez can guide the Toon to victory in one of these matches.
But if not, Newcastle supporters will be in for a torrid 90 minutes on 12th May.