Newcastle United will be looking to take their unbeaten league streak to 12 games when they take on Fulham at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The Magpies currently sit three points clear at the top of the Championship following consecutive away wins to Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town and a 0-0 draw at Reading in midweek.
Stopping the home rot
Newcastle have been unpredictable at St James’ Park this season, despite their exceptional away form, and will be hoping to put that right as they look to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Fulham remain in the hunt for the Play-offs and occupy 7th position – five points behind Sheffield Wednesday with a game in hand.
Slaviša Jokanović’s side have been one of the surprise packages in the league this season and were tipped to finish in the bottom half at the start of the campaign.
The Cottagers beat the Magpies 1-0 in the first game of the season in August and will be aiming to do it once again as they look to secure a place in the top six.
Newcastle come into the game on a 11-game unbeaten streak in the league. Rafael Benítez’s side have recorded seven wins and five draws in that time.
The Magpies will be full of confidence following the previous two weeks - which was labelled “one of the biggest of their [the players] careers” by goalkeeper Karl Darlow. United secured two wins and a draw against Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading respectively – their main threats for automatic promotion.
Fulham are also likely to be full off confidence as they head to St James’ Park unbeaten in six games. A 1-1 draw against an inform Leeds United last time out was a good result for the London side, who have scored two or more goals in five of their last six matches.
DeAndre Yedlin is expected to be out for a few weeks following his knock picked up in the victory over Huddersfield. Rolando Aarons is back in light training following his ACL injury while Isaac Hayden will also miss out following ankle surgery.
Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback both have nine bookings and will face a two-match ban if they pick up another yellow, however after Saturday’s game the slate is wiped clean.
Impressive performances from Daryl Murphy have saw Aleksander Mitrovic omitted from the match day squad for the past two games and it remains to be seen whether he will be forced to sit out once again.
Fulham have almost a full squad at their disposal for the trip up north. Lucas Piazon is set to miss out as he recovers from a broken draw suffered in the 2-2 draw to Cardiff in February. Floyd Ayite is also unavailable.
Expected line-ups and key players
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Darlow, Gamez, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Shelvey, Colback, Ritchie, Diame, Gouffran, Gayle
Ritchie has been the stand out player for Newcastle in previous weeks. The Scotland international won and scored the penalty against Huddersfield and was unfortunate not to score against Reading as his shot cannoned off the inside of the post. Ritchie has 13 goals and nine assists for United this season.
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Button, Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone, Johansen, McDonald, Aluko, Cairney, Kebano, Martin
Cairney has been the main man for Fulham and rescued a point for his side with a 95th minute equaliser against Leeds on Tuesday night. The midfielder was linked with a switch to St James’ Park in January but Fulham will be delighted they kept hold of the 26-year-old who has eight goals and ten assists this campaign.
The last four fixtures between these clubs have finished 1-0 to the home side – two Newcastle wins, two Fulham wins since 2013.
Previous 25 meetings (since 2001)
9 Newcastle wins
13 Fulham wins