Newcastle United will look to seal their promotion back to the Premier League when they face Preston North End on Monday night at St. James’ Park.
The Magpies sit second in the EFL Championship table and could confirm their promotion with a win on Monday, if fourth-placed Huddersfield Town lose their game in hand. Newcastle have had a poor week, having drawn 1-1 at home against Leeds United, before losing 3-1 to Ipswich Town. Manager Rafael Benitez will be keen on bouncing back and finishing the season on a strong note.
There’s good news on the injuries front for the Toon Army as star defender Ciaran Clark and leading goal-scorer Dwight Gayle have returned to full training and are in line to return to the scheme of things for Monday. No other absentees for Benitez.
Here is how Newcastle could line up against Preston:
The 26-year old has kept 13 clean sheets so far this season in the Championship. Another shut out on Monday could go a long way in helping his team in their promotion bid.
DeAndre Yedlin had a poor game against Ipswich on Monday night. This should see him get dropped for this game, to make way for Anita at right-back.
The captain has looked far from being the daunting presence that he was in the backline earlier in the season. He will need to step it up in what is an extremely crucial game for his team.
The Irishman has missed the last 6 Championship games due to injury. But having returned to full training, he is expected to start in the heart of the defence. Grant Hanley might miss this one out.
One of Newcastle’s most consistent players this season, he will look to end the season in a similar fashion.
The former Liverpool man has gone off the boil in recent weeks, putting in a string of underwhelming performances. Due for a strong showing.
Shelvey will be partnered in the middle of the park by Isaac Hayden. The former Arsenal man provides a solid base for the Magpies to build upon.
Went missing last Monday against Ipswich. He has been the difference-maker for Newcastle in recent times and will need to lead from the front again.
Did not feature against Ipswich, but Benitez should opt for him ahead of the ineffective Mo Diame in the No. 10 role.
Was Newcastle’s only bright spark in their attack in the loss last Monday. Should keep his place in the XI, ahead of Yoan Gouffran.
The 22-goal striker is back from injury and will be available for this game. It will be a huge boost for the Magpies in this crucial encounter.
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