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Newcastle United v Brighton and Hove Albion - Can we end the year on a high?

After a much talked about performance against Manchester City, Newcastle United will be expected to take the game to their weekend opponents, Brighton. 

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League
Dwight Gayle will be hoping for better luck than he had against Manchester City.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle will have to do without Florian Lejeune once again. The centre-half missed the midweek defeat against Man City with a foot injury that was suffered in training. Chancel Mbemba started on Wednesday, but is likely to lose his place to Ciaran Clark again.

Paul Dummett did make his return to action in midweek, and is in line to start once again, this time in his favoured left-back role. Javier Manquillo will drop to the bench.

Jonjo Shelvey started in the middle of the park against the league leaders, but will be again fearing for his place, with Mikel Merino waiting in the wings. Isaac Hayden is also in with a chance of making his return to the XI, after injury.

Neither Matt Ritchie or Christian Atsu started last time out, but will both be expected to come back into the side, even though Jacob Murphy and Rolando Aarons both impressed against City.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League
Matt Ritchie is expected to slot back into the side.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Aleksandar Mitrovic is still not available because of a back problem, so Dwight Gayle and Joselu could lead the line together again. Although, Mo Diame looked very good on Wednesday, and could have earned himself a place in the number ten role on Saturday.

Experienced Spanish defender Bruno Saltor is expected to return to the Brighton side for this game, after sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.

Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy will be the pairing in the centre of defence. The two have struck up a very impressive partnership at Brighton.

Brighton have just one injury absentee for this weekend, former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell will not feature. Davey Propper and Dale Stephens have been Chris Hughton's first-choice pairing this season anyway.

Pascal Groß has been Albion's best player this season, and will surely come back into the starting line-up. Biram Kayal will likely be the one to drop to the bench.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Watford - Premier League
Pascal Groß has managed four goals and five assists since arriving at the Amex in the summer.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Brighton regulars Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray also started on the bench at Chelsea and will likely be recalled by Chris Hughton.

Record signing Jose Izquierdo could also make only his ninth league start of the campaign, although Izzy Brown is available once again after being unable to play against his parent club last time out.

Likely line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Saivet, Merino, Ritchie, Joselu, Atsu, Gayle

Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner, Knockaert, Propper, Stephens, Izquierdo, Groß, Murray

Score prediction: Newcastle United 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion

The game has not been selected for TV coverage. You can follow the match by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle's live commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website.