Eddie Howe has confirmed Jonjo Shelvey will likely miss around 12 weeks of action after suffering a hamstring injury.
The midfielder picked up the problem during preseason and subsequently missed the win over Nottingham Forest, meaning Joe Willock paired Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton in central midfield.
That department is one of the deepest in Howe’s squad, with Sean Longstaff and Elliot Anderson also able to operate there, though Willock is surely the favourite to start against Brighton on Saturday following the team’s performance last week.
Sven Botman started on the bench against Forest and perhaps Howe could be adopting the same kind of process he did with Guimaraes. With Fabian Schar scoring last week and Dan Burn having rarely put a foot wrong since his own arrival, there appears to be little need to rush the Dutchman into the starting lineup.
Callum Wilson has eyes on the World Cup and will surely almost certainly lead the lead once more, while Miguel Almiron could flank him alongside Allan Saint-Maximin.
Newcastle predicted XI (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Burn, Targett; Guimaraes, Willock, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
Injured: Shelvey (hamstring)
Doubts: Krafth, Fernandez, Lewis