Eddie Howe is guarding against complacency even as Newcastle United look to have secured their Premier League future ahead of Wednesday’s game against Crystal Palace.

Newcastle have won five consecutive home matches to move 12 points clear of the bottom three, now only three shy of the top half.

The Magpies will leapfrog opponents Palace with another win at St James’ Park.

But Howe insists the job is not done until Newcastle are mathematically safe, even if it would take a remarkable turnaround for 18th-placed Burnley to catch them.

Howe, whose side visit Norwich City on Saturday, said: “We know the importance of this week, with two massive games to come for us. We’re very keen to hit the 40-point mark as quickly as possible.

“We know that nothing is given and nothing guaranteed in this league – with the unpredictability of the results, it’s that kind of league.

“We’d love to finish off this run of three home games with a win, and just the way the stadium looked and felt on Sunday (against Leicester City) was incredible, with the flags before the game and the general atmosphere. It was a privilege to play in.”

While Newcastle have momentum, Palace are in need of a lift after losing to Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final.

Patrick Vieira said: “When you go through the season, there are periods where you learn about the players.

“It will be a period where I will learn a lot about the players, how we will keep concentrating on the league and how we will bounce back after the Chelsea result.

“It’s a period where we will learn a lot about what the players want to achieve and what we want to do as a football club.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Newcastle United – Bruno Guimaraes

Newcastle’s man of the moment, Guimaraes was not signed for his goals but has already scored three, as many as he netted in two years with Lyon. Whether Newcastle press from the front or allow Palace to control the game, the Brazil international will be key.

Crystal Palace – Conor Gallagher

Thomas Tuchel apologised to Gallagher for not allowing him to take on parent club Chelsea at Wembley, and Palace missed their loan star. He will be back and eager to make his mark, up against a tough opponent in Newcastle sensation Guimaraes.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Newcastle have lost three of their last six league games against Crystal Palace (W2 D1), as many as they had in their previous 24 against the Eagles (W15 D6).

– Crystal Palace won this exact fixture 2-1 last season – they have never won back-to-back away league games against Newcastle before.

– London clubs have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League visits to St James’ Park (W7 D4), with Newcastle beating West Ham 3-2 in April 2021. The Magpies have conceded at least three goals in all four of their home games against London sides so far this term (D1 L3).

– Newcastle United have won their past five home Premier League matches, last winning six in a row between January and April 2004 under Bobby Robson. Before this run, the Magpies had won just four of their previous 24 games at St James’ Park (D11 L9).

– Newcastle have won eight of their 13 Premier League matches in 2022 (D2 L3), as many as they won in 42 attempts in 2021 (W8 D13 L21). This year, only Liverpool (32) and Tottenham (27) have won more points than the Magpies (26).