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Newcastle United v Fulham- Onto the home straight

Fulham are the visitors this week as Newcastle return to St James’ Park for the first time since the 2-2 draw against Bristol City.

Reading v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Rafa Benitez watches on against Reading.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The home side have been dealt a blow with the news that DeAndre Yedlin could be out for a fortnight after playing through the pain barrier against Huddersfield. Jesus Gamez made his first league start since November against Reading and Vurnon Anita also made his return at the John Smith’s stadium. Both are available to slot in for the American.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
DeAndre Yedlin will miss the game.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Rolando Aarons (knee) and Isaac Hayden (ankle) will also miss out for the Magpies.

Dwight Gayle is in line to make his first start since he was forced off early on during the victory over Aston Villa. Daryl Murphy will likely have to settle for a place on the bench, with Aleksandar Mitrovic missing out completely once again.

Yoan Gouffran was recalled to the starting line-up for the 0-0 stalemate at Reading, but left the pitch with a nasty head cut. His replacement, Christian Atsu, may well return against the Cottagers.

Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback are in line to start, but must be wary as they both face the prospect of a two match ban should they be booked before April 9th.

Slavisa Jokanovic will be without winger Floyd Ayite again. The Togolese man has not featured since the 2-2 draw with Cardiff, during which he picked up a hamstring injury. Neeskens Kebano is therefore likely to continue in his place and the former PSG man has been in brilliant form recently, notching three goals and adding two assist in his last six.

The Londoners will also be without Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon, who is recovering from a broken jaw and their Greek midfielder Thanos Pestos, who has a problem with his calf.

Other than those three absentees, Jokanovic has a fully fit squad to choose from. They will probably remain unchanged from the 1-1 draw at home to Leeds United.

The obvious danger man comes in the form of Tom Cairney. The Scotsman was wanted by Rafa Benitez in January, but Newcastle were quoted a price of £20 million. Since then, he has shown just why he is so highly rated. His equaliser last time out against Leeds was just another of his spectacular goals this season.

Fulham v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Tom Cairney has been Fulham's stand-out player this season.
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Likely line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Colback, Atsu, Diame, Ritchie, Gayle

Fulham: Button, Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone, Johansen, McDonald, Aluko, Cairney, Kebano, Martin

Score prediction: Newcastle 2-0 Fulham

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