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Newcastle have played four pre-season games this summer, opening their preparations for the new campaign with a 5-1 victory over Gateshead on July 9 before beating 1860 Munich 3-0 six days later.
The Magpies then suffered a 1-0 defeat to Mainz 05 on July 18, while they were beaten 3-2 by Benfica in their last match on Tuesday, with Miguel Almiron‘s brace not enough for the Howe’s side to avoid defeat.
Newcastle will now take on Atalanta and Athletic in their final two friendlies of the summer before beginning their 2022-23 Premier League season at home to newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on August 6.
The Magpies have only signed three players during this summer’s transfer window, bringing in Sven Botman, Matt Targett and Nick Pope, but the club are expected to be active in the final stages of the market.
Newcastle looked destined for relegation to the Championship due to their poor form in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign, but they ultimately finished 11th in the Premier League table, with their January business playing an important role in the team moving clear of the bottom three.
Newcastle boss Howe could decide to use two separate squads for the matches against Atalanta or Athletic, although he also has the option of using the same players but limiting their minutes.
As a result, it is difficult to know exactly what to expect from the home side here, especially as they will be in action against Atalanta, but a strong squad should be available for this contest.
Almiron’s brace against Benfica last time out could earn him a spot in the final third of the field alongside Jacob Murphy and Chris Wood, while Bruno Guimaraes may start in midfield.
As for Athletic, Nico Williams was on the scoresheet in the draw with Mainz last time out, and the 20-year-old is again expected to feature in the final third of the field.
Head coach Valverde is again expected to make full use of his squad on Saturday, but a familiar side could take to the field for the first whistle, including Iker Muniain and Dani Garcia.
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Inigo Martinez should also start at centre-back despite the speculation surrounding his future, while Mikel Balenziaga could replace Jon Morcillo, who started at left-back last time out.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Pope; Trippier, Schar, Burn, Targett; S Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton; J Murphy, Wood, Almiron
Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; De Marcos, I Martinez, Yeray, Balenziaga; Berenguer, D Garcia, Vesga, Muniain; I Williams, N Williams