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Newcastle United v Leeds United - The beginning of the promotion party?

Following a dismal defeat at Hillsborough, Rafael Benitez will have to rally his troops again as they prepare for the visit of high flying Leeds United. 

Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship
Ayoze Perez and Paul Dummett celebrate the crucial victory at Brighton in February.
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Newcastle will go into the game without Dwight Gayle, after the striker limped off against Sheffield Wednesday with further hamstring trouble. Aleksandar Mitrovic and Daryl Murphy will both be hoping to capture his place.

Jack Colback has had a virus that has caused him to miss the last few games, but he should be fit to face Leeds on Friday night. Fellow midfielder Isaac Hayden is also hoping to be ready to play after feeling slight stiffness in his ankle.

If neither are passed fit, Mo Diame will likely continue alongside Jonjo Shelvey in midfield.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Mo Diame has had to slot in alongside Shelvey in recent weeks.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ciaran Clark is "very close" to returning according to Rafa Benitez, but the game looks as though it has arrived too soon for the Republic of Ireland international.

After a defensive horror show against Wednesday, Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles are both under fire and could lose their place in the XI. Grant Hanley is waiting in the wings.

Rolando Aarons is another who will not yet be ready to make his return. The winger looks less and less likely to play again this season.

However, the Magpies have been given a boost with the news that DeAndre Yedlin is in contention to make his first appearance since early March.

As for the visitors, number two goalkeeper Marco Silvestri will not be able to play and could actually miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Liam Cooper will also miss out as he serves the third game of his six-match ban. Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley have been a fixture in the Whites' defence this season and that will therefore remain the same.

Leeds will have Liam Bridcutt and Hadi Sacko back available. Former Sunderland midfielder Bridcutt missed the home victory over Preston due to an Achilles problem, while an ankle injury has prevented winger Sacko from playing in the last two.

Fulham v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Leeds winger Hadi Sacko will return to the squad after missing the previous two matches.
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ronaldo Vieira will be hoping for another start, but the return of Bridcutt could mean he has to settle for a place on the bench.

Pablo Hernandez will start behind 27-goal New Zealand international Chris Wood and the pair will be obvious danger men from Newcastle's perspective.

Alfonso Pedraza and Kemar Roofe were the wide men last time out, but the likes of Stuart Dallas, the returning Sacko and Souleymane Doukara will be pushing for starts.

Likely line ups

Newcastle: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Hanley, Dummett, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie, Ayoze, Atsu, Mitrovic

Leeds: Green, Ayling, Jansson, Bartley, Berardi, Phillips, Bridcutt, Roofe, Hernandez, Pedraza, Wood

Score prediction: Newcastle United 2-2 Leeds United

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