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Newcastle United v Leicester City – Happy Birthday?

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Newcastle United is 125 years old on Saturday, on a day in which they will welcome Leicester City to Tyneside. 

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League
The stage is set for a special day on Tyneside.
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Newcastle have been boosted by the news that captain Jamaal Lascelles is fit and ready for action ahead of this weekend’s game. The defender has been kept out since the 1-0 away defeat at Burnley. Florian Lejeune is the more likely to drop out of the side, with Lascelles in line to partner Ciaran Clark.

Paul Dummett, however, is not yet ready to return. The full-back will play for the Under-23 side in order to work himself up to full match-fitness. Javier Manquillo and Chancel Mbemba have struggled in the left-back role in recent weeks, so Jesus Gamez may well be a surprise inclusion.

After the 3-1 reverse at Stamford Bridge, Rafa Benitez has a really tough decision to make with regards to who plays in midfield. Jonjo Shelvey was dropped against Chelsea, whilst Mikel Merino and Mo Diame were both disappointing, so it really is anybody’s guess. Isaac Hayden is another option.

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League
Jonjo Shelvey will be hoping for a recall.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Christian Atsu is back in training and available for selection again. The Ghanian’s pace in attack has been missed, but the likelihood of him going straight back into the XI remains low. Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie will probably play on the wings.

Dwight Gayle started and scored last time out, repaying his manager’s faith in him. There is a good chance that the former Crystal Palace man will start again this weekend. Aleksandar Mitrovic will have to wait for his first start of the season, whilst Joselu is bereft of any confidence at the moment.

Claude Puel confirmed in his press conference that he would have an almost fully fit squad to choose from for the clash at St James’.

Robert Huth is one of only two absentees. The big centre-back has not played for the Foxes all season. Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire have struck up an impressive partnership in his absence, and will play on Saturday.

Ex-Newcastle full-back Danny Simpson will play against the Magpies, with the reliable Christian Fuchs taking up his place on the opposite side.

Midfielder Matty James has not featured since September with an Achilles problem. Vicente Iborra and Wilfried Ndidi are likely to continue in the heart of the midfield, with Andy King providing an option from the bench.

Leicester City v Burnley - Premier League
Vicente Iborra arrived from Sevilla in the summer.
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Riyad Mahrez has been reinvigorated under Puel and will someone that Newcastle will have to be wary of on the right hand-side. He will be providing the ammunition for Jamie Vardy, who has been a menace for Newcastle in the recent past.

Either Shinji Okazaki or Demarai Gray will play off of the former Fleetwood Town striker, in an attack that will be full of pace and work ethic.

Likely line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Shelvey, Merino, Ritchie, Perez, Murphy, Gayle

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy

Score prediction: Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City

The game has been selected for BT Sports TV coverage. You can also follow the match by tuning into BBC Radio Newcastle's live commentary, courtesy of the official NUFC website.