Newcastle United play host to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night knowing that victory will end any lingering fears over a surprise relegation from the Premier League.
However, the Magpies may instead be looking towards the top 10 of the standings, particularly with 13th-placed Palace only sitting above them on goal difference.
If Newcastle want to become an elite club over the next few years, a solution will need to be found for their away form, the Magpies currently on a run of three successive defeats on their travels.
However, Eddie Howe’s team have become a juggernaut at St James’ Park, their dramatic 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Sunday afternoon their fifth win in a row on familiar territory.
Now 12 points clear of the relegation zone, Newcastle are realistically already safe, but Howe nor the club’s supporters will take that as an excuse for any below-par performances over their remaining six matches.
As expected, Bruno Guimaraes has been a difference maker since his January arrival, most notably in the centre of the pitch, but he chipped in with both goals against the Foxes on Sunday.
Although Newcastle have not always looked like a free-scoring team, they have learned how to earn points with regularity, and that is perhaps the most pleasing improvement since Howe replaced Steve Bruce.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira reacts on February 23, 2022© Reuters
Whatever happens during the run-in, Palace will take countless positives from the team that they have become under Patrick Vieira, but they cannot afford to drop their level now that they have less to fight for.
Since taking four points off Manchester City and Arsenal, the Eagles have gone down by a 2-1 scoreline against Leicester and bowed out of the FA Cup to Chelsea at the semi-final stage.
Despite holding their own for the first hour of the contest, Palace did not take their chances and ultimately paid the price during the closing 25 minutes, going down 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.
On paper, the London outfit have a favourable run-in with their most difficult-looking fixture theoretically being at home to Manchester United on the final day of the campaign.
However, to become a top-10 side, Palace need to be taking points from fixtures such as the one at St James’ Park and the five that follow against teams all in the bottom half of the standings.