After the high of the FA Cup, Newcastle return to Premier League reality against Southampton.
The Magpies haven’t scored in their past four league outings, and are now looking nervously over their shoulders.
Steve Bruce needs a result against the Saints, but how many changes will he make to his starting XI?
Return for Fernandez and Dubravka
Against West Brom, Martin Dubravka and Federico Fernandez were rested.
However, they should return against Southampton. Dubravka is undoubtedly our number one goalkeeper, while Fernandez hasn’t done anything wrong to justify losing his place in the league team.
Schar was alright against the Baggies, but didn’t do enough to prove he deserves the Argentinian’s position at the back.
Javi Manquillo is a doubt for the game, but we expect him to start. If Bruce decides the Spaniard isn’t fit to play, then DeAndre Yedlin should take his place.
Choices out wide
The only guaranteed starter is Miguel Almiron, who will continue behind the striker.
Allan Saint-Maximin impressed against West Brom and has to start on the left, where Joelinton played last week.
But who should start on the right? Against Burnley it was Matt Ritchie, but Valentino Lazaro got his chance at the Hawthorns.
The Austrian impressed, but I think Bruce will play it safe and go with Ritchie, one day after the 30-year-old signed a new contract.
He’s set to stay with Newcastle until 2023, having joined in 2016 for £12million.
Joelinton or Gayle?
Bruce also has options up top, and Joelinton’s performance during the week has given him food for thought.
The Brazilian looked much better on Tuesday night, but Bruce must persevere with Dwight Gayle.
The 29-year-old looked lively against Burnley, starting his third game of the season.
If Gayle doesn’t impress, Bruce knows he has a more confident Joelinton in reserve.
Predicted lineup to face Southampton: Dubravka; Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose; Hayden, Shelvey; Ritchie, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Gayle.