Huddersfield Town host Newcastle United at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon for another Premier League game-week.
The Terriers are heading into they key clash back in the relegation zone after three consecutive defeats. Performances have remained high though, and they will be hoping they can record just their second home victory of the season.
Newcastle had a 100% record in November, winning three out of three, but lost in injury time to Wolves last time out. The Magpies currently sit three points above the relegation zone in 15th.
A win for the home side would take the two sides level on 13 points.
Head to head
In the 64 games between the two sides, David Wagner’s team have won 22, whilst Rafa Benitez’s men have won 27. There have been 15 draws.
In the two meetings last season, they both finished 1-0 to the home side. In their first top-flight home match for 45 years after winning promotion, Aaron Mooy gave the Terriers the win in August, whilst Ayoze Pérez ensured the three points remained in Tyneside for Newcastle in March.
Newcastle’s frontman Salomón Rondon can be a real handful and has recorded three goals and one assist in his last five matches, so the Terriers’ defence is going to have to try and keep him quiet for the afternoon.
Huddersfield’s Danish defender Mathias Zanka will play a big role in helping the Terriers keep a clean sheet. His tally of 41 interceptions so far this season, is only second behind Watford’s Etienne Capoue.
Huddersfield’s injury woes seem to all come at once this week. Midfielders Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams will be on the sidelines till around February, with both suffering from medial collateral knee ligament damage. This also means the former will miss the Asian Cup with Australia in January.
Tommy Smith and Abdelhamid Sabiri are another two long-term absentees. Smith was stretchered off with a hamstring strain last week against Arsenal and isn’t expected to return until January.
Sabiri came on as a substitute against Bournemouth in the match before, only to break his collarbone within a couple of minutes, and be subbed straight back off. He is also not expected to return until February.
Steve Mounié will serve the final game of his suspension, following his red card against Brighton, but Terence Kongolo and Jonathan Hogg have both recovered from their respective knocks.
Newcastle will be without four players for the trip to West Yorkshire. DeAndre Yedlin will serve the first of his three-match suspension following his red card against Wolves last weekend.
Centre back Federico Fernández was taken off at half time in the same game with a calf injury and hasn’t recovered in time to face the Terriers. Goalkeeper Karl Darlow also has a knock but is expected back next week.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has an ongoing thigh problem and will face assessment in around ten days to reveal the extent of the injury, and his lay off time.
Fabian Schar is likely to return after serving his one-game suspension after picking up five yellow cards throughout the season.
Huddersfield Town: (5-3-1-1) - Jonas Lössl, Erik Durm, Zanka, Christopher Schindler, Terence Kongolo, Chris Löwe, Jonathan Hogg, Philip Billing, Juninho Bacuna, Alex Pritchard, Laurent Depoitre
Newcastle United: (5-3-2) - Martin Dubravka, Javier Manquillo, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Matt Ritchie, Ki Sung-yeung, Mohamed Diamé, Christian Atsu, Ayoze Perez, Salomón Rondon
During his press conference, Wagner said: “We have to make sure we perform on the highest possible level, we have to make sure we again have the atmosphere in the stands which allows us to play football with intensity and energy and, then, we have to make sure we are more clinical.
“We must defend key situations so that we can keep a clean sheet and, on the other side, maybe we have to have a bit more luck than we have had in the past.”
Prior to the game, Benitez said: “The squad know that every game is really important for us and especially these kind of games where you are both so close in the table.
"Sometimes, you talk about six point games rather than three point ones.
"The players know this is one of those and the group are quite good in terms of their approach to matches. We need them to gain confidence to allow them to do things in the correct way."