The headline team news heading into Sunday’s crunch meeting with Aston Villa is that Kieran Trippier, so influential since his arrival, is a doubt.
Head coach Eddie Howe has confirmed the England international is suffering from the slight calf problem that saw him brought off during the closing minutes of the midweek win over Everton. With Matt Targett also unavailable due to the terms of his loan move from Villa, Howe could be forced into deploying a relatively makeshift backline.
Dan Burn and Matt Ritchie are options at left-back, as well as Javier Manquillo, although the Spaniard might have to deputise for Trippier on the right. There is, of course, the option of deploying Ryan Fraser or Jacob Murphy as a right-wing back, although the Scotland international does appear to be going from strength to strength in an attacking sense of late.
Further up the field, Bruno Guimaraes is available but Howe must decide as to whether or not he’s ready to start. Joe Willock has performed well against both Everton and Leeds, while Joelinton is enjoying a strong run alongside him. Jonjo Shelvey, meanwhile, has been a frequent starter under Howe.
Newcastle United predicted XI (4-3-3): Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Burn, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Wood, Fraser
Injured: Federico Fernandez, Paul Dummett, Callum Wilson
Doubtful: Kieran Trippier