Newcastle will be looking to pick up their third successive Premier League win when they host bottom of the table Aston Villa at St James’ Park on Saturday evening.
After a disappointing start to the season, the Toon have more than doubled their points tally in their last five fixtures, triumphing in three of those, including successive victories against Liverpool and Tottenham.
Last weekend’s 2-1 win against Spurs was particularly impressive, as it was Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s first defeat since the opening day.
Aleksandar Mitrovic was the hero for the Toon, scoring the equaliser just two minutes after coming off the substitutes’ bench, before setting up Ayoze Perez for the winner, and he will be hoping he is rewarded with a starting spot.
Meanwhile, it has been nothing short of a disastrous campaign for Villa, who have picked up just six points from their 16 matches, and lie eight points from safety.
Despite picking up a credible draw against Southampton at St Mary’s a fortnight ago, they were comfortably beaten 2-0 at Villa Park by Arsenal last weekend, and still haven’t tasted success since the opening day.
Remi Garde will be aware that no team with the current points tally has ever survived in the Premier League, and he will be desperate to get some results in the Villans’ next four fixtures, before the January transfer window opens.
For the hosts, Cheick Tiote, Rolando Aarons and Jamaal Lascelles could all be back in contention following injury.
Villa are set to once again be without captain Micah Richards, who is suffering with a knee problem, while Gary Gardner may also be sidelined with a similar injury.
League Position: Newcastle – 15th (16 pts); Aston Villa – 20th (6 pts)
Last Meeting: Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa (February 28, 2015)
Form: Newcastle – DWLLWW ; Aston Villa – LDLLDL
Key Men: Newcastle – Gigi Wijnaldum; Aston Villa – Rudy Gestede
Shoot Says: Newcastle 2-1 Aston Villa