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Newcastle United Could Secure Future at Aston Villa

Newcastle United eased their relegation fears with a thrashing of Wolves last weekend and could even climb as high as seventh with victory at Aston Villa on Sunday.

The black-and-whites thrashed Villa 6-0 at St James' Park back in August but have to defy the odds as none of the last seven meetings between the teams have ended in an away victory, with Newcastle priced at 10/3 to win this game.

Newcastle have only won two of their last ten matches but could be virtually safe of relegation if they register one more win. Alan Pardew has been hit ahead of this game by the news striker Leon Best will miss the rest of the season due to ankle surgery.

Shola Ameobi will have to lead the line for Newcastle, he is 8/1 to score the first goal, but a more pressing worry could be the absence of captain Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote for the game at Villa Park.

Nolan starts a two-match suspension for ten bookings while Tiote completes a two-game ban meaning, with central midfielder Stephen Ireland also ineligible against his parent club, Pardew is without several midfield stars – something Villa are likely to be out to take full advantage of.

Ryan Taylor has competed his ban and is pushing for inclusion, while Jose Enrique will face a fitness test on a hamstring problem. Long-term absentees Hatem Ben Arfa and Alan Smith remain on the sidelines, through the former could be back by the end of the month.

Newcastle calmed their fans' fears with the win over Wolves and Argentine midfielder Jonas Gutierrez, who got the final goal in the game, has said the "most important" thing for Pardew's side is to get that one more win to put them on 42 points.

"We need a few more points and the quicker we can get them, the better," said the 27-year-old.

"I think three points will be enough to give us another year in the Premier League, and then we will see where we are and where we can go."

Aston Villa sit only two points ahead of the relegation zone, achieved a 2-2 draw with Everton last time out, and are 5/6 to win Sunday's game.

They have no fresh injury worries and Ciaran Clark is pushing for a recall after completing two-match ban.

That result was Gerard Houllier's teams' only points from their last three games and they will be pinning their hopes on the England trio of Darren Bent, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing to get them all three points at Villa Park.

The Premier League remains so tight this season and though Newcastle can climb to the dizzy heights of seventh with a win, they will be focussed on getting that one more win which could virtually secure their Premier League survival.

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