Newcastle United could move out of the Premier League’s relegation zone if they manage to defeat an in-form Manchester City at St James’ Park.
The Magpies, who crucially fought past Swansea City 3-0 at the weekend, could leapfrog fellow relegation rivals Sunderland and Norwich City with another set of three points this evening.
However the Citizens, who currently occupy third spot in the English top-flight standings, have won their last three league outings against AFC Bournemouth, West Brom and Chelsea on the bounce – scoring nine goals in the process.
Even more favourable for the visitors is the fact that City have won the last 12 Premier League meetings between the two clubs – including 23 goals against Newcastle in their previous six encounters, with star striker Sergio Aguero netting five in a thrilling 6-1 win earlier this campaign.
Rafael Benitez’s hosts are looking for back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season after easing past Swansea at St James’ on Saturday – which included just their second clean sheet in their last 18 league games.
January addition Andros Townsend, who joined the Magpies from Tottenham for a reported £12m, has been involved in four goals in his last three Premier League outings (two goals and two assists).
Meanwhile City’s danger man is undoubtedly Aguero, who has scored an impressive 10 goals in just eight appearances against Newcastle.
The Argentine ace has also found the back of the net 99 times in just 146 Premier League games. If he nets tonight, Aguero will become the second-quickest to score 100 goals in the competition after former Magpies star Alan Shearer (124 appearances).
Captain Fabricio Coloccini (Calf) remains sidelined for Newcastle, whilst fellow defender Daryl Janmaat is also unavailable because of groin and hand injuries.
Right-back Kevin Mbabu (Thigh) is close to a first-team return; but the game will come too soon for the likes of goalkeepers Tim Krul and Rob Elliot (Both knee), plus defenders Steven Taylor (Muscle strain) and Massadio Haidara (Knee).
On the other hand; opposing skipper Vincent Kompany (Calf) and forward Raheem Sterling (Groin) are in the Manchester City squad after returning from their respective injuries.
However Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini will be unable to select midfielder David Silva (Ankle) again, whilst France international Samir Nasri is set to be rested following a minor muscle injury.
Full-backs Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna also miss out with back injuries.
League Positions: Newcastle – 19th (28 pts); Man City – 3rd (60 pts)
Previous Meeting: Man City 6-1 Newcastle – October 3, 2015
Form: Newcastle – LLDLLW; Man City – LWDWWW
Key Players: Newcastle – Andros Townsend; Man City – Sergio Aguero
Shoot Says: Newcastle 1-3 Man City