Quite simply, it all comes down to this for Newcastle United.

When the Magpies kick off at Loftus Road in their final away game of the season, three points is a must for Alan Pardew’s men as they look to finally secure their Premier League survival.

It all looked wrapped up prior to the Europa League quarter final but a crazy run of results in the top flight have left Newcastle teetering on the edge of the bottom three with just two games left. Next week its Arsenal at home for the Toon, so the visit to QPR must yield maximum points or the Geordies will face a last-day showdown with those around them.

In truth, Newcastle are lucky to not be in the bottom three already after Wigan missed their chance to pile the pressure on when they were beaten at home to Swansea on Tuesday night.

A win on Sunday, coupled with a loss for the Latics away at Arsenal on Tuesday would confirm Newcastle’s escape from the drop and allow them to concentrate on building for next season, where they will not be burdened by the distraction of European competition.

Last time out against West Ham, the Geordies were boosted by the positive performance of club captain Fabricio Coloccini, who is set to continue at the back with Steven Taylor. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa put in an encouraging display at left-back last week and will likely continue there on Sunday.

Mathieu Debuchy could return at right-back after completing his suspension but Moussa Sissoko won’t return this season. Neither will Tim Krul, Shola Ameobi, Haris Vuckic or Ryan Taylor, who all have longer term injuries.

Shane Ferguson and Sammy Ameobi have returned from loan spells at Championship sides Birmingham and Middlesbrough respectively and could make the squad.

For the home side, megabucks’ signing Christopher Samba is struggling with injury, while fellow money-grabber Julio Cesar will be left out, meaning Rob Green will be in goal for the relegated R’s. Andrew Johnson and veteran winger Shaun Wright-Phillips are both also missing.

Loic Remy – who made a last minute decision to boost his bank balance rather than his career prospects by joining QPR in January – will start for the home side.

A win for Newcastle could lift them as high as 12th in the table and make them almost certain to stay up. It would also pile the pressure on Wigan, who play Arsenal away just three days after the FA Cup final and then face a final day clash with Aston Villa.

A loss would be disastrous and leave the Magpies needing points at home to Arsenal on the last day of the season to guarantee survival.

Now is the time to step up for the Newcastle squad.