Newcastle United returned back to the top of the Championship standings just 24 hours after being piped to the summit by Brighton and Hove Albion a gritty 2-0 win against Wigan at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night. Two back-to-back victories have comfortably banished the memories of the shock defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Rafa Benitez’s side seek a third successive win on Saturday afternoon when they take on Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium. The Brewers sit just two points above the relegation spots and dare desperately short on confidence having lost their last two matches.The meeting will the first in either club’s history with Nigel Clough, the Burton coach admitting that this fixture is one of the great footballing mismatches.
Rafa Benitez has named the same side for Newcastle’s last two league games, but he would looking to shake things up ahead of the hectic festive fixture schedule. Midfielder Jack Colback may return having recovered from the eye problem that has kept him out for a month.
The former Nottingham Forest man has firmly established his place as Newcastle’s first-choice stopper. He has often used his height to a great advantage in the air and played a critical hand in establishing Newcastle’s mean defence.
Rafa Benitez has opted for Vurnon Anita at right-back instead of the impressive DeAndre Yedlin for Newcastle’s last two league games against Birmingham City and Wigan, a decision that has left many Toons fans perplexed. Anita though, to his credit, has been influential in both the outings securing back-to-back clean sheets.
Another former Nottingham Forest man who has been integral to Newcastle grinding out positive results. The 23-year old’s rise this season has been impressive, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Premier League scouts!
Ciaran Clark delivered another ice-cool performance at Wigan on Tuesday night. For someone who endured a miserable, almost nightmare-ish last season with Aston Villa, this campaign must seem as a total opposite!
Barring a red card at Nottingham Forest that was later overturned, Paul Dummett has looked at ease in the Championship and has been a consistent starter for the Toons at left-back.
Ran his socks off against Wigan but didn’t quite have the luck in the final third, an aspect he would be keen to correct ahead of the busy festive schedule.
While Newcastle still awaits the verdict of his appeal against racism charges, Jonjo Shelvey started for Newcastle against Wigan and went about his usual business in midfield, spraying possession and maintain control.
Seems to have rediscovered his mojo after a minor dip in form. Was his usual best on return to former club Wigan, scoring a beautiful solo powering forward from midfield.
Came off the bench and helped seal the win at Wigan. The Ghana winger’s impressive performance since joining the club on loan has lead to widespread calls for a permanent transfer from Newcastle fans.
The diminutive striker has been on fire this season and has scored 16 times already in the Championship in just 1,282 minutes – that means a goal every 80 minutes or so. On Tuesday night too, his work rate was top notch but unfortunately not many chances came his way.
Missed out in the last league game against Wigan, but should be given an opportunity against relegation candidates Burton ahead of the tough festive fixture schedule.