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With any fears of a devastating relegation very nearly quashed, Newcastle United are looking firmly up the table rather than over their shoulder, and Eddie Howe‘s side recovered from a temporary blip in their revival to dent Wolves’ European aspirations that little bit more.
Despite suffering an early injury blow to Ryan Fraser, the Magpies snapped a three-game losing streak in the top flight as Chris Wood tucked home a penalty in the 72nd minute against Bruno Lage‘s men, and Newcastle are now very nearly home and dry.
Before the weekend’s fixtures kick off, Howe’s side find themselves sitting pretty in 14th in the rankings – with a 10-point gap separating them from managerless Burnley, who do have a game in hand, in the bottom three – but a few daunting tests still await Newcastle.
Indeed, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool will all pit their wits against the newly-rich Magpies before the curtain closes on a whirlwind of a season for the Toon Army, who will surely already have one eye on their team’s summer transfer business as optimism continues to grow.
Furthermore, each of Newcastle’s three most recent defeats came away from home, and the Magpies welcome Leicester to St James’ Park having won each of their last four Premier League games on their own turf, and the Foxes – despite their joyous exertions – are not exactly well-rested.
As mentioned, Fraser was only on the field for 13 minutes against Leicester before having to be withdrawn with a thigh issue, but Howe has not ruled the Scottish winger out of contention for the visit of Leicester – Jacob Murphy and Miguel Almiron are both on standby, though.
Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier are making strong progress in their recoveries but will not be fit for the weekend, while Jamal Lewis and Isaac Hayden remain out for the long term, and Joe Willock could be back in the fold after a knee injury.
The former Arsenal man is fighting an uphill battle to regain his spot in the XI, though, with Bruno Guimaraes starring in the Wolves win and seemingly cementing his spot in the starting lineup.
As for Leicester, Rodgers also has his own long-term absentee list, which currently includes Danny Ward, Ryan Bertrand and Wilfred Ndidi, and it remains to be seen when Jamie Vardy will be able to return to action.
Boubakary Soumare has been dealing with muscle soreness but should come back into contention for the trip North, and Rodgers will likely consider some alterations after a gruelling yet worthwhile trip to the Netherlands.
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Patson Daka and Ayoze Perez both provided assists as substitutes against PSV and have staked their claims for starts here, while James Justin and Luke Thomas are ready to provide fresh legs in the wide areas if needed.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett; Shelvey, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wood, Saint-Maximin
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Soyuncu, Thomas; Dewsbury-Hall, Soumare; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Daka