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Toon Crier: Lads in Villa

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Newcastle is away to Aston Villa. Here's what you need to know.

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Tim Krul est une vedette du rock
Tim Krul est une vedette du rock
Clive Mason

After signing, well, all of France, its finally time for the Lads to get back on the pitch. After some of the other clubs had a go in the FA Cup, what should be a fairly rested Newcastle side prepares to take on an Aston Villa squad that has been on a frustrating streak to say the least.

ESPN.com (or ESPN FC, if your prefer) takes a look at how Newcastle and Aston Villa differed in their approach to the January transfer window. VIlla manager Paul Lambert says the club needs "a few in", in terms of new players. The report says that Newcastle's new signings will be part of the team. Sissoko and Debuchy are expected to be in the starting XI.

Yahoo UK has a preview of the match. Fun referee fact: "On average, Mike Dean has handed out a card for every 5.9 fouls in the Premier League this season; the most frequent of any referee."

As stated above, Sissoko will get a start tonight (or afternoon for us Yanks).

I promise not to link the Sunderland Echo often, but they have a story of Sissoko stating the obvious. He calls the match "massive".

Speaking of the new signings, Mike Ashley hopes he gets the most out of his signings.

Lots of jokes have been made about a language switch at Newcastle. Nope, the new guys have to learn English or risk fines. I honestly don't know if this is a common thing with European clubs or not. If anyone has some info on the matter, chime in. For what's its worth, "Howay the lads" is "Allez les gars"

Other matches today..

Stoke City takes on Wigan. Wigan are currently in 19th, so a win for them would make the relegation race more interesting. Stoke is currently in 10th.

QPR meets up with Manchester City. QPR is last in the table and even a shock result wouldn't propel them to 19th.

Sunderland and Swansea get together in a mid-table battle.