Preview: Newcastle United vs. Anzhi Makhachkala

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew before kick-off in the Europa League tie against Metalist Kharkiv on February 14, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole previews the second leg of the last-16 Europa League tie between Newcastle United and Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday.

A resilient 0-0 draw in Russia last week has left Newcastle United as the favourites to emerge from their Europa League last-16 clash against Anzhi Makhachkala.

Alan Pardew's much-changed outfit secured a goalless draw in the first leg of the European tie, placing the Magpies in the driving seat as they attempt to become one of the final eight teams in the competition.

The home side will enter the match full of confidence having won three of their last five matches in all competitions, a run of form that has moved them into 13th position in the Premier League table and away from relegation trouble.

On the other hand, Anzhi have won just one of their last five in all competitions, with their latest league defeat to FC Mordovia Saransk leaving them in second position in the table, five points behind leaders CSKA Moscow.

Rob Elliot is expected to continue between the sticks for the Magpies, while Davide Santon, Steven Taylor and Cheik Tiote are also pushing for inclusions from the start.

Anzhi, meanwhile, have no fresh injury concerns from the first leg, meaning that Willian is expected to operate behind Samuel Eto'o, leaving Lacina Traore to make his mark from the bench.

Recent form:

Newcastle: WWLDW

Anzhi: DWDDL

Possible lineups:

Newcastle: Elliot; Simpson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Perch, Santon; Cabaye, Tiote, Anita; Sissoko, Marveaux, Ben Arfa

Anzhi: Gabulov; Eschenko, Chaves, Ewerton, Jucilei; Shatov, Zhirkov, Akhmedov, Diarra; Willian, Eto'o

Sports Mole says: 1-2

Magpies manager Alan Pardew sits in the dugout during the game with Norwich on January 12, 2013
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