We travel to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa on Monday night, looking to claim our third straight win in the Premier League after the dreaded international break.
Newcastle will be without skipper Jamaal Lascelles, while Ciaran Clark’s may be touch and go after picking up a hamstring problem while away with the Republic of Ireland.
Fabian Schar looks set to return after overcoming a knee injury and, with Federico Fernandez in fine form and set to keep his place, it seems the final centre-half birth will be occupied by either Paul Dummett or the returning Florian Lejeune.
Here is our predicted XI for Monday night’s trip to Aston Villa:
(5-2-2-1) Dubravka – Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Willems – Shelvey, Hayden – Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton
Personally, I would like to see Lejeune brought straight back in as his calmness and ability to play the ball out from the back is a quality shared by both Fernandez and Schar, something which could be a valuable asset in a game they’ll be looking to dominate.
However, with Lejeune coming back from a 7-month spell on the sidelines and Ciaran Clark only recently suffering a hamstring complaint, Bruce may well favour the reliable Paul Dummett – who did a great job in Lascelles’ absence vs Bournemouth.
Lejuene did feature for 53 minutes at Villa Park a fortnight ago for the U-23s and came through unscathed, but will he really be thrown in straight away?
The midfield and forward set-up is likely to remain unchanged, with Bruce appearing to have more faith in Jonjo Shelvey – and rightly so after his display in our last two.
Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton are shoo-ins to lead the front line and, although they have managed just 1 goal between them all season, they have looked better in recent weeks and caused both West Ham and Bournemouth real problems in our last two.