Newcastle United wing-back Matt Ritchie is suspended for the midweek clash against Norwich City, which could result in Jamal Lewis being given a rare start against his former side.
Ritchie was given a yellow card in yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, following a cynical challenge on Bukayo Saka.
Matt Ritchie suspended for Newcastle
It was the 32-year-old’s fifth Premier League booking of the season which brings an automatic one-game ban at this stage of the campaign.
The former Bournemouth man will sit out the crucial six-pointer against the Canaries at St James’ Park on Tuesday night.
Club captain Jamaal Lascelles is also suspended for the clash against Dean Smith’s side, which means manager Eddie Howe will be forced into at least two changes.
Lascelles’ absence could see Ciaran Clark, Isaac Hayden or Federico Fernandez come back into the side.
Door opens for Jamal Lewis
But Ritchie’s unavailability could see Lewis make his first Premier League start of the season against some familiar faces.
Since moving to Tyneside for £15m (BBC Sport) last September, Lewis has made 28 appearances for the Magpies.
But the Northern Ireland international has only played six minutes of Premier League football so far this season.
That came in the dying stages of the 4-1 defeat at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old is yet to feature in Howe’s two games for the club.
Lewis’s only start of the campaign under Steve Bruce came in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat to Burnley.
His last Premier League start came against Wolves nine months ago (Transfermarkt).
There isn’t any guarantees that Howe will start Lewis against his former club.
The former Cherries boss could use the likes of Ryan Fraser, Javier Manquillo or Jacob Murphy to replace Ritchie on the left-hand side.
But Lewis will be hoping to get an opportunity to impress his new manager.
Starting with a dominant performance, which helps the club get our first three points of the season, against the side he made 100 appearances for, could see Lewis earn an extended run in the side at Ritchie’s expense.
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