A Newcastle side buoyed by a late equaliser in a midweek thriller entertain a West Ham team going from strength to strength under Slaven Bilic in an intriguing match-up this weekend.
This fixture last season saw the hosts needing a final-day victory to ensure survival. Whilst the circumstances are not quite as severe this time round, the Toon are still in desperate need of three points to breath fresh life into their survival bid as those around them continue to pick up points.
Tuesday’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United should have given Steve McClaren’s side some confidence, as they pulled back from two goals down and secured a point through Paul Dummett’s last-gasp leveller.
However, the Magpies remain without a win since mid-December and fell below neighbours Sunderland into 19th after the midweek matches.
West Ham rose to fifth after their excellent 3-1 win at Bournemouth on Tuesday night, which saw Dimitri Payet and Enner Valencia come to the fore.
Both scored excellent free-kicks at the Vitality Stadium, whilst the mercurial Frenchman set up Valencia for the second goal. The win extended their sequence of consecutive victories to three matches, whilst they haven’t lost in their last eight games.
The Hammers travel to the north-east searching for their first victory at St James’ Park since 2012, when former Magpie Kevin Nolan netted the winner. Bilic’s side claimed the points in the reverse fixture at Upton Park in September, winning 2-0.
New signing Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey were introduced to the St James’ Park crowd before the thrilling draw against United on Tuesday, and both could make their debuts on Saturday, but Cheick Tiote will not feature as he is closing in on a transfer to Chinese side, Shanghai Shenhua.
For the visitors, Andy Carroll suffered a hamstring injury in the midweek win at Bournemouth and will be sidelined for at least a month, but Victor Moses, Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Karate are all fit again.
League Position: Newcastle – 19th (18 pts); West Ham – 5th (35 pts)
Last Meeting: West Ham 2-0 Newcastle (September 14, 2015)
Form: Newcastle – WDLLLD West Ham – DDDWWW
Key Players: Newcastle – Georginio Wijnaldum; West Ham – Dimitri Payet
Shoot Says: Newcastle 1-1 West Ham