Newcastle United face Norwich City hoping to play themselves back into the kind of form that saw Alan Pardew's men spoken of as contenders for the Champions League positions last season.
The new season has not been a happy one so far for the Magpies. Pardew's men have picked up only five points from the first four games and have not won since beating Tottenham 2-1 on the opening day. They come into this game on the back of an exciting but ultimately scoreless draw in Portugal, in the opening game of the Europa League group stages.
Norwich, meanwhile, have recovered somewhat after an opening day 0-5 humbling by Fulham, to record three consecutive draws... one of which was at White Hart Lane. While the improvement is good to note, Chris Houghton will be uncomfortably aware of the fact the Canaries have much to live up to this season (they finished last season in an impressive 12th place) and that they face a truly unlucky run of blue-chip opponents in the next three games - at home to Liverpool and Arsenal, sandwiched by a trip to Chelsea. Newcastle United is just the beginning.
Where to Watch
There is, unfortunately, no live broadcast of this game. However, you can follow the match live through Gamecast on Soccernet and tune in to catch highlights through BBC One's Match of the Day programme at 10.25 pm BST (also available on BBC One HD) and on Football First: Match Choice, on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD at 10.30 pm BST.
The Magpies return from what was, ultimately, a disappointing trip to Portugal. They were expected to see off the challenge from Maritimo but Shola Ameobi's efforts rebounding first off the crossbar and then the post summed up the club's night.
However, Pardew will be keen to put that disappointment behind him and focus on Norwich City's visit. The Canaries have been resilient so far this season (the 0-5 defeat notwithstanding) and the hosts will need all of their wits about them, if they are to record a second league win of the season and hopefully kick-start their campaign.
Pardew has had to face criticism of his players in recent weeks and the incident involving Senegalese striker Demba Ba would not have helped. The 27 year old forward's agent was quoted as suggesting his client would force a move from the Sports Direct Arena in January after being left on the bench for the league game against Everton. Ba came on in the second half to score a brace and rescue a point for his club. His personal feelings aside, Ba will have to work things out with compatriot Papiss Cisse and the two will have to return to the goal-scoring heights of last season if Newcastle are to have a good year.
As far as Norwich goes, this will be a return of sorts for manager Chris Hughton, who was controversially fired by the club in 2010. He will know, therefore, of the ambitions of the people behind the scenes and how difficult a game this will be.
"They are a team that will be pushing for Champions League places, so it's quite a daunting place to go, but we've a team that will look forward to that experience. It's one that on a personal note I am looking forward to, but it's about our performance. It's a difficult place to get a result," he explained to the club's official Web site.
Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini and Ryan Taylor continue to be unavailable. Summer signing Vurnon Anita, who was away for personal reasons for the game against Maritimo is likely to return. Ivorian midfielder Cheick Tiote, who is key in midfield, could have sufficiently recovered from his calf problem but given his importance to the club, Pardew may not risk him unless there is need.
Several first team regulars who were rested for the Europa League tie - goalkeeper Steve Harper (Tim Krul is still out injured), midfielders Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Papiss Cisse (late fitness test) will return to action.
The big news for Newcastle though is Demba Ba. The striker was left out of the squad to Portugal after his agent's comments made news. He is fit and available to play, as is Cisse... it should therefore be interesting to see which of the two Pardew picks or if he plays both.
Hughton has injury worries of his own, with Steven Whittaker, Elliot Bennett and Simon Lappin all unavailable. Meanwhile, midfielder Anthony Pilkington will face a late fitness test to see if he is ready.
Newcastle Probable Line-up: Harper; Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon; Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Anita, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse
Norwich Probable Line-up: Ruddy; Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Surman; Holt, Jackson
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