Newcastle must keep focus after Preston cruise

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Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has warned his players against complacency after they kept their promotion charge rolling by chalking up a 3-0 home win against Preston.

The Magpies, who are still unbeaten at St James' Park this season, hold a six-point lead over second-placed Nottingham Forest and have suffered just one defeat in their last 19 Coca-Cola Championship games.

After watching his side cruise past Preston thanks to goals from Peter Lovenkrands, Kevin Nolan and Ryan Taylor, Hughton is adamant his side must keep their feet on the ground heading into the last part of the season.

"I think it is the most important thing,'' he said.

"We know we are one or two losses away - and the two other clubs we speak about, West Brom and Forest, are one or two wins away - from being a lot closer to us or being above us so we can't afford to (lose focus)."

He added: "Our preparation has to be the same and our mental attitude going into every game has to be the same because the league is too good for that.''

Hughton, whose side have now scored seven goals in their last two home games, does however admit the Magpies appear to be hitting top form at exactly the right time.

"We are on the back of a couple of real free-flowing performances here and it is difficult to achieve that every time you play,'' he added.

"There are going to be the games where you are not going to get everything your own way, you are going to get games where they are tighter affairs and I thought for a decent chunk of this game it was very tight.''

Hughton also conceded the game hinged on a superb save from keeper Steve Harper after he instinctively blocked a thunderous Jon Parkin drive from six yards out with the score standing at 1-0.

"It was outstanding,'' he said. "It was at a period of the game when we started very well then had a dip and Preston were able to affect the game.

"At that point, that arguably was the save that allowed us to go on and win the game.''

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