Newcastle’s defence are now guaranteed to be in for a busy Monday night against Wolves, as a BBC report claims Wanderers winger Diogo Jota will be fit to play.
The Portuguese dribbler had missed a mid-week FA Cup game with a minor injury and it was uncertain whether he would be fit in time for Newcastle’s Molineux visit.
His recovery is a huge boost for Wolves, but an even bigger blow for Newcastle and their defenders.
The winger was a constant torment in December’s St James’ Park clash, popping up with an assist and a goal in a 2-1 win.
Without Jota, Wolves would have barely threatened the Magpies, as almost every positive bit of action seemed to come through him.
He opened the scoring after a cleverly timed run beyond the defence, and created the last minute winner after his shot was parried into the path of Matt Doherty.
And in even worse news for the Toon, Jota and Wolves have only got better since.
Jota: Wolves’s secret weapon
Wolves are in dangerously good form of late and a lot of that is down to Jota.
Wanderers have scored 10 goals in their last three league matches, winning three on the bounce.
Of those 10 goals, Jota has been responsible for creating or scoring half of them.
Against Leicester in late January, he hit his first Premier League hat-trick. Since then he’s also bagged an assist against both Everton and West Ham.
He’s now scored five and assisted four in his last seven appearances.
In those seven matches, Wolves have won all but one match (a 3-0 loss to Man City).
He’s so important to the side, that in the last five matches that Wolves haven’t won, Jota was out injured for four of them.
The Newcastle defenders who must improve against Jota
It would be fair to say that DeAndre Yedlin and Jamaal Lascelles won’t be looking forward to playing Jota again.
Lascelles was at fault for both goals in the Wolves match at St James’s and found Jota particularly tough to deal with.
The centre-back played Jota completely onside for his first goal, and then backed off the dribbler repeatedly throughout the game.
Lascelles needs to be more commanding against the midfielder, and not be afraid to put his foot in.
Yedlin meanwhile needs to be wary of Jota’s speed and pressure tactics.
The American full-back was sent off against Wolves in December after pulling Jota to the ground.
The winger had pressured and tackled Yedlin in his own half, leaving the Newcastle defender with a choice between embarrassment or disgrace.
It was a clumsy challenge, and hopefully Yedlin wont take it out on Jota at the Molineux.
It was clear from that game that Jota is excellent at losing his markers and going unseen by the defence.
Yedlin and Lascelles must make sure then that they are alert, and aware of every run he makes this evening.