COMMENT By Will Butcher
Newcastle need to include goal machine Aleksander Mitrovic in their starting line up as they look to make it six wins in a row against QPR on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old has barely been available this term following a four-match suspension as well as a head injury picked up against League Two side Cheltenham Town.
However, Mitrovic is a proven goalscorer at Premier League level and is too good a striker to have languishing on the bench. Manager Rafa Benitez needs to find a way to incorporate both him and £10million signing Dwight Gayle in the starting XI.
That could mean fellow Premier League new boy Matt Ritchie could make way for the Serbia international, after failing to justify his hefty summer price tag.
New signings DeAndre Yedlin and Achraf Lazaar could come in to the Magpies’ starting eleven, giving the Toon much more going forward as well as pace in defence.
Holland international Vurnon Anita is liked by former Real Madrid boss Benitez, and the utility player could replace Jack Colback in centre-midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey.
Chancel Mbemba and captain Jamaal Lascelles are expected to continue their impressive solidarity at the heart of the Toon defence, after conceding just three goals in seven games along with Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels.
The more attacking look to Benitez’s side could strike fear into Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s QPR, and a win would see the Championship favourites move to within one point of league leaders Huddersfield.
In other Newcastle news, fans have reacted after a statue to remember Alan Shearer’s 260 goals was unveiled.