Newcastle host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, and Steve Bruce will be hoping for back to back wins for the first time this season.

Bournemouth are currently seventh in the table, but Newcastle must win home games against sides like the Cherries, as they bid to pull away from the drop-zone.

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Depending on other results, a win for Bruce’s side could potentially lift the Magpies into the top 10, a feat that never looked likely a few weeks ago.

If Newcastle can get maximum points from the game, it could signal a momentum shift at the club, with a feeling that the club is just a couple of decent results from some semblance of the feel good factor returning – on the pitch at least.

Early team news

Fabian Schar could be ready to return, and despite the goal-scoring form of Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark, it would be a big surprise if the Swiss star did not come back into the lineup when available.

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Matt Ritchie could also be available, but due to the form of Jetro Willems in recent weeks, a place on the bench is the most likely scenario for the former Bournemouth player.

Sean Longstaff serves the second game of his suspension, and Florian Lejeune played a large chunk of the second-string game at Aston Villa, but a return to the squad is not likely until after the next international break.

Bournemouth have a number of players seemingly ruled out.

(Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Midfielders Andrew Surman, Jefferson Lerma, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas are all expected to be missing, while former Newcastle man Dan Gosling is also doubtful, but has a 75 per cent chance of being fit to face his former side.

Defender Charlie Daniels is a long-term absentee after surgery on his knee.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

It was a surprise Atkinson was put in charge of a game this weekend, after the events at Everton last week, with referees often forced to sit out a game or two after a bad performance.

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His gaffes at Goodison had a huge influence on the result, with him sending Son Heung-min off for the foul that saw Andre Gomes stretchered off with a dreadful injury, and his failure to award Everton a penalty for a blatant handball from Dele Alli.

The red card mistake was subsequently overturned – an acknowledgement of his clear error – and yet he is still appointed as the man in the middle for Newcastle’s game.

 

It will be his third game in charge of Newcastle this season, having only took charge of the Magpies twice throughout the whole of the last Premier League campaign. We have not won in any of those four previous encounters he has officiated.

So far this season, Atkinson has booked 31 players, awarded four penalties, and last week’s red card was the only sending off he has made.

Points to prove

Jonjo Shelvey, if selected again, will be wanting to show that he can maintain the levels of his performance at West Ham last week, in order to get the new contract that has been mooted this week.

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He will also be wanting to show he should be included in the starting lineup when Sean Longstaff returns from his suspension.

Newcastle’s attack will be hoping to show they can get in the goals, following on from Joelinton’s first assist of the season, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron – who looked back to form in the last game – will be hoping to open their goal-scoring accounts.

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Bournemouth got back to winning ways against Manchester United last week, and will be hoping to prove they justify their spot in the top seven, having been without a win in their previous four games before that, and not having scored a single goal in October.

Gosling, should he play, will be champing at the bit to put on a good display at his former home ground.

Likely formations

With Bruce’s only potential change being a return for Schar – if deemed fit enough – at the expense of either Clark or Fernandez, he is likely to stick to the formation that could have realistically been four or five goals up at half-time last weekend.

Therefore, he will keep the 5-4-1 used at West Ham, but it was clearly more of a 5-2-3 when Newcastle were in possession.

Eddie Howe likes to employ a traditional 4-4-2, and he has consistently done so whether his side have been winning or not. After a good win against Man United last week, it would be a big surprise if he changed it at Newcastle on Saturday.

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