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How Newcastle United could line up for their first game back

Sports Mole looks at how Newcastle United could line up for their first match back after lockdown, when they are expected to face Watford at St James' Park.

Newcastle United return to action in the Premier League knowing that they still have work to do in order to retain their top-flight status.

Ahead of a clash with Sheffield United on June 20 or 21, the Magpies sit eight points above the relegation zone with nine games remaining.

However, Steve Bruce will have confidence in his side after a much-needed 1-0 triumph away at Southampton in their final fixture before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here, Sports Mole predicts how the North-East outfit could line up for their meeting with the Blades at St James' Park.


Out: Jetro Willems (knee)
Doubtful: Ciaran Clark (thigh), Paul Dummett (other)

> Click here for Newcastle's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match

For their success at St Mary's, Bruce used a 4-4-2 formation, a change from what had become a familiar 5-4-1 strategy.

However, Bruce may return to the latter for the game against their next opponents, who will set up with similar tactics.

That may lead to Bruce recalling Joelinton, despite his lack of goals this season, with Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron being used on the flanks.

While Newcastle are currently blessed with options in the centre of the pitch, Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey impressed as a partnership in the most recent outing.

A change in formation will most likely lead to Matt Ritchie dropping down to the substitutes' bench, allowing DeAndre Yedlin and Danny Rose to feature at wing-back.

Newcastle have been handed a boost with the return to training of Ciaran Clark, who had initially been ruled out for the season with a thigh injury.

However, the Republic of Ireland international may only be selected among the replacements, leaving Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar to form a back three.

Despite recovering from a thigh injury, Paul Dummett's availability remains in doubt with the versatile defender having been left out of the club's 25-man squad.

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Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates scoring their third goal on February 4, 2020
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