Venue: Britannia Stadium
Time: 7:45 PM BST
Newcastle United travel to the Britannia Stadium to square off against Stoke City on Wednesday night and the Magpies could potentially lift themselves off of the relegation zone by avoiding a defeat from the clash.
Without even playing, Newcastle United enjoyed a very positive weekend in the Premier League after seeing rivals Sunderland, Norwich City and Aston Villa all suffer defeats in their respective matches.
Before Newcastle United feature in a competitive fixture against Stoke City on Wednesday night (for the first time since February 13), they will have two games in hand over Sunderland, Norwich and Villa.
However, points on the board are clearly more important than games in hand and it will be of paramount importance for the Magpies to claim something from their visit to the Britannia Stadium in midweek.
Newcastle United Team News
Newcastle United used the opportunity of the extended break to head to sunny Spain and conducted a warm-weather training camp at the La Manga Club resort. During their stay in Spain, Newcastle featured in a friendly against Lillestorm and managed to claim a 2-1 victory over the Norwegian side.
The break has allowed the likes of Vurnon Anita and Siem De Jong to return to fitness but the likes of Curtis Good, Chancel Mbemba, Gabriel Oberton and Ivan Toney remain out.
Tim Krul and Massadio Haidara are still nursing themselves back from long term knee injuries while as a blow, captain Fabricio Coloccini picked up a calf problem in Spain and is likely to miss the next few matches.
In the game against Lillestorm, Karl Darlow, Jamal Lascelles, Liam Gibson, Henri Saivet and Seydou Doumbia were all handed a chance to start while Jonjo Shelvey was named as skipper in the absence of Coloccini.
It is expected that McClaren will make wholesale changes to the side which featured in Spain but the likes of Lascelles, Saivet and even young Gibson may be in contention to start against Stoke.
Newcastle United Probable Lineup
Rob Elliot was handed a rest against Lillestorm and he is very likely to replace Darlow between the sticks against Stoke on Wednesday night. With Mbemba and Coloccini out, Lascelles should start at the heart of the backline alongside Steven Taylor.
Rolando Aarons had a shocker against Chelsea in the Premier League last time out but he somewhat managed to recover by scoring the winner in the friendly against Lillestorm and the youngster is expected to start at left back, while Daryl Janmaat continues on the right.
Liam Gibson did well in Spain but McClaren may decide not to throw the youngster in against a team such as Stoke which possesses a number of quality wide players.
Jack Colback and Jonjo Shelvey are likely to start at the middle of the park while Georginio Wijnaldum will be playing in the hole behind the long striker. Andros Townsend and Moussa Sissoko look set to be occupying the wide positions while Henri Saivet could also be in contention.
With Mitrovic and Cisse both struggling, Ayoze Perez might get the nod to lead the line but Seydou Doumbia may also fancy his chances of starting on the night.
Elliot; Janmaat, Lascelles, Taylor, Aarons; Shelvey, Colback, Townsend, Wijnaldum, Sissoko; Perez
Stoke City Probable Lineup
The likes of Charlie Adam, Shay Given, Glen Johnson, Marc Muniesa, Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson all remain ruled out and it is very likely that the Potters will go with the same lineup which started in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.
Butland; Pieters, Wollscheid, Cameron, Bardsley; Imbula, Whelan, Arnautovic, Afellay, Shaqiri; Walters
31/10/2015 Newcastle United 0 – 0 Stoke City
08/02/2015 Newcastle United 1 – 1 Stoke City
- Newcastle United and Stoke City have squared off against each other 67 times, with Magpies claiming 30 victories while the Potters earning 21
- Newcastle have failed to beat Stoke in their last four consecutive encounters and have suffered 1-0 defeats in their last two visits to the Britannia Stadium
- Stoke City have lost only once in their last five matches at home while Newcastle United have failed to claim a single point on their travels in their last five
- Newcastle have only scored 27 goals this season while Stoke have managed 29, making them the 4th and 6th worst attacks respectively in the English top flight
- Both the teams’ top scorers so far this season, Georginio Wijnaldum and Marko Arnautovic have 9 goals each to their names in the Premier League
Shaqiri and Arnautovic vs Janmaat and Aarons
Shaqiri and Arnautovic have been forging quite a partnership in recent times and they will certainly be raring to go up against Newcastle full backs Janmaat and Aarons on Wednesday night.
Janmaat is capable of containing Shaqiri but the Swiss international’s pace could cause the Dutchman a lot of problems. On the other flank, Aarons has the pace but not the experience when he comes up against the wily Arnautovic and it will be interesting to see who will come out on top in the battle in the wide positions.
Townsend and Sissoko vs Bardsley and Pieters
On the other side of the spectrum, Newcastle possess quick wingers of their own in Andros Townsend and Moussa Sissoko and they will have to extend the game as wide as possible against the likes of Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley, who are not the quickest around.
Giannelli Imbula vs Jack Colback
Club record signing Giannelli Imbula is already making a mark for Stoke City at the middle of the park and his arrival has certainly sparked the Potters’ recent return to form.
Imbula is capable of dictating the pace of the game if allowed and it will be very important for Jack Colbac to prevent the Frenchman from asserting his influence on the game with his usual energy at the middle of the park.