Newcastle head to Luton Town on Saturday as they take on the Hatters in their pre-Christmas Premier League tie.
Eddie Howe’s side will be going into the game on the back of being knocked out of the League Cup, failing to see out their quarter-final tie away at Chelsea, and eventually losing on penalties after being 1-0 ahead until stoppage time.
However, that should serve as fuel as the players look to bounce back and see out a December that promised so much, but has delivered so little.
Both a quarter-final exit in the League Cup and finishing bottom of their Champions League group means there is just the league and FA Cup to play for.
Newcastle responded to their Champions League elimination at the hands of Milan with a 3-0 victory at St. James’ Park over Fulham last weekend. 17-year-old Lewis Miley grabbed the headlines with his first Premier League goal but the defeat to Chelsea will add a bitterness to the week before Christmas.
Who’s available for Newcastle against Luton?
Howe will be without the suspended Sandro Tonali, as well as injured quintet Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock and Elliot Anderson, while the fitness of Alexander Isak, Fabian Schär and Joelinton remains unclear.
Anthony Gordon has six goals and four assists in the Premier League this season, more goal involvements than any Newcastle team-mate, but could also miss Saturday’s kick-off after suffering a first-half injury against Chelsea on Wednesday.
A unique tie between the sides
Newcastle and Luton have not met since 1993 with Eddie Howe only facing Luton once before when Bournemouth boss in 2009. Both sides then were a League Two side, highlighting the rise the Hatters have embarked upon in recent years.
There will be an argument to suggest that the style of play both sides play will make the tie an interesting, tactical encounter.