Newly promoted Fulham travel to the northeast to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday evening in fixtures round 14 of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
The hosts come into the game after two wins on the bounce came to an end at Leeds United in midweek, and in emphatic fashion, too.
It finished 5-2 at Elland Road, with Leeds running away with the game thanks to three goals in the final 15 minutes. Newcastle will certainly be hoping to produce a more watertight defensive display here.
Fulham, meanwhile, have drawn two in a row, both at their home of Craven Cottage against Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion respectively.
Despite enjoying a fairly positive spell of form recently, the Cottagers have slipped back into the bottom three due to the results of other teams and will be motivated by the opportunity to climb out of the relegation zone once more should they emerge victorious from this trip.
A Covid-19 outbreak at Newcastle means they will be without the service of up to five players for this match, according to head coach Steve Bruce.
The defeat at Leeds could see changes in the Magpies' starting 11, with Matt Ritchie, Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron all itching to get back into the fold.
Meanwhile, Bruce's opposite number Scott Parker hinted that rotation could be on the cards for this fixture due to the congested fixture list across the festive period.
Bobby Decordova-Reid is a doubt due to a knock sustained against Brighton, and his absence could see the visitors here revert to a four-at-the-back formation.
Newcastle United — Darlow; Krafth, Fernández, Clark, Lewis; Almiron, Longstaff, Shelvey, Ritchie; Wilson, Joelinton.
Fulham — Areola; Aina, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Cairney, Lemina, Anguissa; Cavaleiro, Mitrovic, Lookman.
Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce:
“We’ve still got four or five of the squad missing through illness, so it’s been a difficult time in that respect, however we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and we hope we can get them all back.
“At the forward end of the pitch, we’re starting to look a threat, which is important. What we we have to do is get that balance right which I’ve talked about for a long time, and make sure we defend better as a team than we did the other night.
“[Fulham] have adapted to Premier League life. Certainly in the last few weeks they’ve looked a very, very decent outfit with some very good players. It’s another tough game, but that’s what the Premier League is.”
Fulham manager Scott Parker:
“Look, it’s a tough place to go, St James’ Park. I played there for a couple of years so I understand what it’s like. They’ve got quality, so it will be a tough game for us, but one we’re looking forward to.
“It’s a game that we want to try and take points from. Newcastle have had some up and down results, like a lot of teams this year, but they’re a very good side. Saying that, we’re on a good run, in a good vein of form, so for sure we’re going up there to try and win the game.”
Fulham completed a Championship double over Newcastle in the 2016/17 season, but the Magpies have won three of the last five Premier League encounters.
The Cottagers failed to score in four of those five meetings.
In fact, the most recent tie at St James’ Park ended goalless in December 2018.
How to watch
Newcastle vs Fulham will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage beginning at 19:45 GMT. Kick-off is at 20:00 GMT.
Alternatively, a highlights package with become available on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
BBC One’s Match of the Day airs at 22:35 GMT and will cover the best action and analysis from all of the day’s Premier League fixtures.
And remember, there will also be live text commentary on the match right here at VAVEL UK — make sure to follow along!