West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United Preview: Baggies seek vital points under Megson

West Bromwich Albion vs. Newcastle United Preview: Baggies seek vital points under Megson

Match preview of the Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at the Hawthorns on Tuesday evening

Neil Leverett

After taking a hard-fought point against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday at Wembley Stadium, West Bromwich Albion caretaker boss Gary Megson takes charge of his first home game as fellow strugglers Newcastle United make the trip to The Hawthorns on Tuesday evening.

Salomón Rondón gave the Baggies a surprise early lead in North London last weekend, and after clinging on to take a precious point back to the West Midlands, West Brom return home to face a Magpies side who have lost their last four Premier League outings.

Ahead of their midweek clash, just three points separate both sides, with the duo sitting in 17th and 14th place respectively.

Vital points for caretaker Megson

In his second stint in the West Brom dugout since a four-year spell in charge between 2000 and 2004, 58-year Megson got a reaction from his players on Saturday, as the Baggies continued their recent record of frustrating Spurs at home.

As he takes charge of his first home game, there in more at stake for the hosts' temporary steward, in what could be his last assignment at the club before Alan Pardew is named as new Head coach.

Albion have not taken a point in the West Midlands since late September and Megson will be keen to remain unbeaten - at least in his few games in charge.

Floundering Magpies

Only a month ago, the picture for Rafa Benitez's men was far rosier in the North east. After nine games, the Magpies were sixth with 14 points but after a pointless November thus far, Newcastle are starting to look nervously over their shoulder. 

Whilst takeover rumours persist in the background, the loss of skipper Jamaal Lascelles has been a blow for Newcastle - at both ends of the pitch. Since the English defender was forced off with injury at home to the Cherries earlier this month, his side have scored just once and conceded eight times.

Whilst few are suggesting the Toon could be set for relegation battle come May, their heavy and resounding defeat to Watford at St. James' Park on Saturday was further confirmation there are problems on the field for Benitez's men.

Visitors boast superior record

Tuesday evening will be the 21st time the two have met in the Premier League, with the visitors boasting the superior record by a ratio of eleven to four wins.

Two seasons ago, both the Baggies and Magpies exchanged home and away 1-0 victories. 

At the Hawthorns that season, Darren Fletcher's 78th-minute goal was enough for the hosts to take the full spoils, before Newcastle asserted revenge in their own back yard, with Aleksandar Mitrovic's first-half effort enough to take a 1-0 win they met last time out.

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Team News

Defender Chris Brunt is again ruled out with a calf strain, with the midfield duo of Nacer Chadli and James Morrison set to be absent until the festive period.

Craig Dawson is nearing a return to training from a knee injury, but is also out until Christmas at least.

As documented, Lascelles is a continued absence with an ankle injury however midfielder Mikel Merino could start after a back problem.

Christian Atsu is out with a thigh-muscle strain, whilst full-back Paul Dummett is still nursing a hamstring complaint.