After a prolonged international break, Newcastle return to action with a trip to Aston Villa tonight.
The Magpies are on a roll of sorts, winning their previous two games against West Ham and Bournemouth. As for their opponents, Villa are on a three-game losing streak.
Newcastle have received good and bad news on the fitness front before this game, so who will Steve Bruce pick?
Fabian Schar to return
Bruce will be forced into at least one change against Villa. Jamaal Lascelles is ruled out, but fortunately Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune are back.
Lejeune hasn’t played a competitive game since April, while Schar’s last Toon outing was the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea. While fans are clamouring for Lejeune’s return, Schar seems the more likely to start. He hasn’t been out of action for as long so should be more up to speed and ready to go.
There is a chance that Ciaran Clark may also miss the game after picking up a knock. If he isn’t fit to start, Lejeune should take his place rather than Paul Dummett. However, I think top-scorer Clark will be alright to feature against his former side.
No changes in the middle
Sean Longstaff is still suspended, meaning Bruce will more than likely continue with Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the park.
One of the pair will probably wear the captain’s armband, with Shelvey being the most likely recipient after taking it in the win over Bournemouth.
Saint-Maximin or Almiron to break their ducks?
Newcastle’s front three have been excellent in the past two games and will definitely start at Villa Park.
The only thing missing from their game is goals, and hopefully at least one of them will get on the scoresheet, hopefully setting us on the way to three wins on the bounce.
Predicted lineup: Dubravka; Schar, Fernandez, Clark; Yedlin, Shelvey, Hayden, Willems; Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.