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Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest- 2016 comes to an end at St James' Park

Nottingham Forest visit St James' on Friday night, weeks following the ill fated clash at the City Ground. 

Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Newcastle players baffled by referee Stephen Martin's decision to show Paul Dummett a red card.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Newcastle are again without Jonjo Shelvey, who serves the second of his five game ban. Rafa Benitez however, has confirmed that his only injury absentees are Rolando Aarons and Jesús Gámez. Everyone else is available.

The Boxing Day defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday served as a massive wake up call, and Rafa has hinted at making major changes. Many have been calling for a more attack-minded set up. DeAndre Yedlin and Achraf Lazaar may start together for the first time since their arrivals in the Summer. Christian Atsu is also pushing for a recall after an impressive cameo on Monday night. Of course, the option of reverting to a 442 system is there for Benitez, which would see Dwight Gayle being partnered with Aleksandar Mitrović.

As for Forest, they will be without Michael Mancienne, who will serve a suspension.

Montanier has slight concerns over both Ben Osborn and Joe Worral too, who both picked up knocks during their game against Huddersfield. Pajtim Kasami is back in contention though after illness.

Injury absentees include: Danny Fox (muscle problems), Chris Cohen (groin), Armand Traoré and Daniel Pinillos (both knee).

Henri Lansbury will also sit the game out with a hamstring injury, much to the disappointment to Newcastle fans.

In the last game of this calendar year, Newcastle know they have no more room for error. A win is a must here, especially with Brighton looking better and better each week. It is time for the Magpies to retake top spot.

Likely line ups:

Nottingham Forest: Stojkovic, Mills, Hobbs, Worall, Cash, Osborn, Vaughan, Pereira, Lichaj, Kasami, Bendtner

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Colback, Ritchie, Diamé, Atsu, Gayle

Score prediction: Newcastle 4-1 Nottingham Forest

How to follow:

The match is unfortunately not live on TV. You can follow the action by watching Sky Sports News, or by Listening to BBC Newcastle's live commentary. You can also check out our Twitter, where match updates will be provided.