All eyes will be on St James’ Park on Sunday as Newcastle United take on Norwich City in the only Premier League match of the day.
Steve McClaren is still searching for his first league win as Magpies boss but has 13 players on the treatment table with Tim Krul the latest casualty after the Dutchman was ruled out for the season with a knee injury picked up on international duty.
The injury problems on Tyneside has added to the gloom of sitting bottom of the top flight, with just one win from their last 19 games in the division.
The hosts haven’t had to wait this long for a victory in the league since 1898 and it’s imperative they get something out of this clash with the Canaries, who are also tipped to struggle despite a solid start.
Norwich have never won away at Newcastle in the Premier League and to keep this record going Steve McClaren will first have to address issues up front.
The Toon Army have had fewer shots than any other team with only 50 attempts. This is 35 fewer than Norwich despite Newcastle spending around £40 million more in the summer.
McClaren will also have been working on his side’s passing game in training as they have found it difficult to retain possession. This has been a big factor in the North East outfit dropping seven points from winning positions in the opening eight fixtures.
Rob Elliot is expected to take Krul’s place in goal, while Daryl Janmaat, Massadio Haidara, Paul Dummett and Jack Colback could all play after returning to training.
Despite their problems, the hosts will take heart by the fact Norwich are yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
The Canaries have managed to counter act this with a player who can make things happen in the final third – Wes Hoolahan with five assists to his name already.
Boss Alex Neil will be looking for more goals from his strikers with last year’s top marksman Cameron Jerome having struck just once so far.
Kyle Lafferty, Gary Hooper and Dieumerci Mbokani, who scored against Leicester, could all replace Jerome if Neil continues to opt for one lone striker.
Youssouf Mulumbu is City’s only real noticeable absentee. The former West Brom midfielder is still two weeks from full fitness.
League Position: Newcastle – 20th, 3 pts; Norwich – 15th, 9 pts
Last Meeting: Norwich 0-0 Newcastle, January 2014
Key Men: Newcastle – Moussa Sissoko; Norwich – Wes Hoolahan
Form: Newcastle – DLLLDL; Norwich – DLWDDL
Shoot Says: Newcastle 2-2 Norwich