Newcastle travel to Southampton today to take on an in-form Southampton side who could pose Steve Bruce plenty of problems at St Mary’s.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men recently stuck four goals past an Aston Villa side who were flying in the Premier League, having beaten Liverpool by an incredible 7-2 score-line.
The Saints will be without the prolific Danny Ings, but they still have plenty of dangerous players in their side.
Here’s the XI we think Bruce should deploy against Hasenhuttl’s men, to give Newcastle the best chance of a result…
Same again in defence
Bruce’s back five of Jacob Murphy, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis – ahead of Karl Darlow – worked a treat against Everton last time out.
They managed to nullify the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Gylfi Sigurdsson enough to get all three points, so we think Bruce should stick with the same backline.
One change in midfield, Jonjo Shelvey still missing
In terms of who is available to the ex-Sunderland boss, we think Jeff Hendrick should be dropped in place of Isaac Hayden, with Sean Longstaff keeping his place.
Why? Well, Hayden’s defensive nous will be needed against in-form players such as James Ward-Prowse in the middle of the park. In Longstaff’s case, we believe he’s better on the ball than Hendrick, a trait which will be needed given Hasenhuttl’s high-pressing playing style which can unsettle those who aren’t great on the ball.
Hendrick – who Bruce described as a ‘big asset’ according to the Independent.ie – has done superbly so far, but we don’t feel this is the right game for him.
Callum Wilson in the centre, flanked by Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin
After his two-goal heroics against the Toffees last week, it would be madness to drop Callum Wilson.
He should get some joy against a fairly leaky Saints side who shipped three goals in their win over Aston Villa last week, while Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin will be providing him with deliveries into the box.
Predicted lineup: Darlow; Murphy, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis; Hayden, Longstaff; Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Wilson.