Newcastle United anticipate the visit of Birmingham City at St. James' Park this Saturday, as they look to put a blip in form behind them.
The Magpies have lost their last two league games and were beaten by Hull City in the quarter finals of the EFL Cup last week. Rafa Benitez will be hoping his side can put things right with a positive performance in front of the home fans.
As mentioned, Newcastle haven't enjoyed the best of spells of late but Birmingham are also looking to get back on track. Gary Rowett's men were on a four-match unbeaten run before lowly Barnsley travelled to St. Andrew's and pulled off a surprise 0-3 victory.
Newcastle fell off the summit of the second tier after Brighton and Hove Albion beat Leeds United in the first game of the weekend, however a win for Benitez's side would put Newcastle back on top by a single point.
Birmingham need a win themselves as they look to remain in the play-off places.
Newcastle appeal boost
Newcastle's defeat last weekend at the hands of Nottingham Forest can be put down to the dismissals of Paul Dummett and Jonjo Shelvey. Referee Stephen Martin sent both players off in the first half under dubious circumstances as Henri Lansbury appeared to play for the cards on both occasions.
After receiving bans, Newcastle appealed both cards and the FA revoked both decisions meaning the duo are available for this weekend's tie.
However the North East outfit may be without midfielder Shelvey later this month when the FA decide whether he is guilty of racially abusing Wolves' Roman Saiss.
Birmingham have failed to beat Newcastle in the last four meetings between the two sides. However the last time the two sides met was back in 2011, when both teams were playing in the Premier League.
Newcastle fans have even more reason to be confident when looking at the history of this tie. Birmingham have only beaten the Magpies once since 2003 and only three times since the turn of the century.
This game may be an indicator as to who will come out victorious next month, as these two Championship sides clash in the FA Cup on the 7th January 2017.