PREVIEW By Harvey Byrne
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez could be set to welcome Matt Ritchie back to his starting eleven for Wednesday’s Championship encounter against Reading.
The midfielder joined the Magpies in a £12million move from Premier League side Bournemouth earlier this summer.
Despite starting the season opener against Fulham, the winger was restricted to a second-half substitute appearance against Huddersfield on the weekend, which left spectators puzzled.
However, with the Toon suffering a second defeat of the season at home against the Terriers, the Spanish boss may look to return Ritchie back to his starting eleven.
It is likely that the 26-year-old will replace youngster Rolando Aarons in the lineup, who started on the left side of the Magpies attack on Saturday.
It has been revealed that senior player Moussa Sissoko will not make his return to the line-up, after he picked up an ankle knock in training.
Meanwhile, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic still has two games left on his suspension after being sent off in the Magpies clash against Tottenham in the club’s final game of the Premier League campaign.
Senior stars Jack Colback and Ayoze Perez are likely to be overlooked again, while Jesus Gamez is still looking for his first senior appearance for the club.
New signing Ciaran Clark could replace Chancel Mbemba in the Magpies lineup, with the former Aston Villa player making his first competitive start for the club, while other new centre-back addition Grant Hanley was omitted from the weekend’s squad.
Dwight Gayle, Mohamed Diame, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Jamaal Lascelles and Matz Sels are likely to keep their place in the squad, making up the eleven’s spine.
The Toon could be in for a tough evening against Jaap Stam’s Reading side, who have opened their domestic season with a win and a loss against Preston and Wolves respectively.
In other Newcastle team news, Tim Krul has revealed that he hopes to return to full training in one week.