Newcastle United will kick off against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Night without influential midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who obviously begins his five game ban after choosing not to appeal. Jack Colback is still out, his eye problem being worse than originally feared. A return date for the former Sunderland man is totally unknown at this point.
Both absences could lead to forgotten man Cheick Tioté being shoehorned back into the side, even though he looks odds on to leave the club next month. Another option for Rafa Benitez though, could be shifting Vurnon Anita into his preferred role in the middle of the pack. DeAndre Yedlin will then be likely retain his place at right back, in an unchanged back four.
Mo Diamé has been on fire as of late and should keep his place in the attacking midfield position, behind another man in form, Dwight Gayle. Aleksandar Mitrovič will probably have to settle for a place on the bench once again.
Carlos Carvahal has admitted that some of his players are carrying knocks and are doubtful for the game. Almen Abdi, Gary Hooper and Will Buckley included.
Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee are both expected to shake off injury though. Star man Fernando Forestieri also returns after a three match ban. Whether he goes straight back into the starting eleven or not remains to be seen, especially after Steven Fletcher bagged the winner in their win against Rotherham.
Rafa Benitez does not need to be told the importance of this match. A win against fellow promotion hopefuls without the presence of Shelvey, will be a real statement by the Magpies.
Predicted line ups
Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Anita, Ritchie, Diamé, Gouffran, Gayle
Sheff Wed: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Hutchinson, Lee, João, Forestieri, Reach, Fletcher
Score prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
How to watch:
The match is live on Sky Sports in the UK, and those unable to watch can follow live updates via BBC Newcastle commentary. You can also follow our Twitter account, where match updates will be provided.