Championship leaders Newcastle will attempt to quickly bounce back from the recent back-to-back defeats they suffered at the hands of Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham when they host 5th placed Birmingham City at the Saint James’ Park on Saturday evening.
2nd placed Brighton can move to the top spot with a 2-point lead if they get a win against Leeds on Friday night, hence, Newcastle need all 3 points against the visiting Blues to retain their position.
With that at the back of his mind, Rafa Benitez wouldn’t be making unnecessary rotations, and his starting lineup should look thus.
Formation : 4-2-3-1
GK – Darlow
The heroics of the English goalie that saw him save 2 penalties against Nottingham Forest almost secured a point for the Toons in the last game.
Would still likely remain in goal despite recently being at the losing end in the last 2 games.
LB – Anita
With Dummett suspended following his red card the last time out, the versatile Dutch player will most likely be drafted to play as left-back as it was the case in the last game.
Summer arrival and cover for the role, Lazaar hasn’t been trusted well enough, having played only 6 minutes of league football since arriving from Palermo.
CB – Clark
The Irish defender has been a mainstay in Newcastle’s defence, making 14 appearances and weighing in 2 goals and 1 assist.
Should continue in the centre of the defence.
CB – Lascelles
The young captain has played every game but one for Rafa Benitez thus far, and has been excellent in terms of winning aerial duels, with only the suspended Dummett (3.7) averaging more than him (3.5) per match.
RB – Yedlin
The American full-back made a clearance off the line in the last game as Newcastle sought a way to get a result.
He has a goal and 2 assists to his name in 11 games and should get another start at right back.
CM – Colback
The English midfielder is a booking away from bagging a 1-match suspension, but following Shelvey’s sending off last time out, he is likely to be drafted into the lineup as the replacement for the former Swansea man.
CM – Hayden
The young defensive midfielder has formed a perfect partnership with Jonjo at the heart of Newcastle’s midfield but will have to play alongside someone else on Saturday.
AML – Gouffran
With 3 goals and 2 assists to his name, the French winger remains one of Magpies’ most important forwards, and Rafa would hope he continues his form against Birmingham.
AMC – Ayoze Pérez
The Spaniard was sacrificed for Anita in the last game following Dummett’s red but will be hoping to play a full game on Saturday in order to help Newcastle to a much-needed win.
AMR – Ritchie
Scored the first goal of the match last week to give the Toons a hope of victory but it wasn’t enough with 2 men down.
Is likely to get another start ahead of Atsu.
CF – Gayle
The division’s highest goal scorer wasn’t able to save Newcastle against Forest but would hope to find the back of the net as many times as possible to hand them all 3 points when Birmingham visit on Saturday.