EFL Championship leaders Newcastle United will face promotion hopefuls and title rivals Huddersfield Town on Saturday night at the Kirklees Stadium.
Rafael Benitez’s side jumped onto the top of the table on Tuesday with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over second-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, thanks to goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez in the final ten minutes. It wasn’t the best of the displays from the Magpies, but they gave an account of their strong determination and depth in the squad to clinch a crucial tie and will be hoping to get one over the third-placed Huddersfield as well.
Benitez once a has to make do with the absence of top-scorer Dwight Gayle and midfield mainstay Isaac Hayden, along with long-term absentee Rolando Aarons. But the Spaniard has the rest of the first-team players fit and will field a strong line-up on Saturday.
Newcastle United predicted line-up:
Karl Darlow (GK)
Let in a penalty against Brighton in the midweek clash and hence he will be itching to keep a clean sheet after having conceded goals in the previous two games.
De Andre Yedlin (RB)
The right-back looked off the pace against Brighton on Tuesday, but Benitez will count on him to provide the width down the right-hand side.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB)
The captain of Newcastle is one of the first names on the teamsheet and we can expect nothing different this week either. His presence at the back will be vital for the Magpies.
Ciaran Clark (CB)
The Irishman gave away the penalty against Brighton and will be looking to put in an improved display against Huddersfield.
Paul Dummett (LB)
The left-back played a good hand in the previous fixture and Newcastle will be hoping for more of the same solidity come Saturday.
Jonjo Shelvey (CM)
Did not get much joy going forward against Brighton but remains Newcastle’s most influential player and is a definite starter.
Jack Colback (CM)
With Isaac Hayden’s prolonged absence, Colback remains the best option available in hand for Benitez. He will feature alongside Shelvey in the middle of the park.
Matt Ritchie (RW)
The biggest attacking threat on the flanks for the Magpies, Ritchie hasn’t been in the best of form recently but will start the game on the right-wing.
Mohamed Diame (CAM)
Scored the equaliser on Tuesday, which he had no clue of. Put in an ineffective showing but should hold onto his place.
Christian Atsu (LW)
Put in another exciting display against Brighton and owing to Yoann Gouffran’s dour showing, he should be picked on the left-flank.
Ayoze Perez (ST)
Scored the all-important winner on Tuesday that put Newcastle back on top of the table. Should come into the starting XI in the place of Gayle and lead the line.