The Magpies head to Preston tomorrow firmly in the promotion places and Smith believes they have a golden chance to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Smith said: "We have given ourselves a good chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and I don't think we will ever get a better chance of going up.
"But it is important we do it at the first attempt. We have created a momentum and we know how important it is to keep that going.
"We have all seen the damage that can be done when relegated clubs don't get back to the top flight. My old club Leeds are an example of what can happen.
"Players start to see their futures elsewhere and there are all sorts of problems. If we don't go up this season we have failed."