COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Rafa Benitez is expected to make three changes to his Newcastle side to face Wigan in Wednesday evening’s Championship clash.
The Spanish boss is likely to adopt his rotation policy in some positions and it is possible attacker Mohamed Diame will drop out of the starting XI because of it.
Spanish forward Ayoze Perez will be expected to come in for the Senegalese player in three changes to the line-up.
Midfielder Jack Colback and right-back DeAndre Yedlin will also be likely to come into the line-up with Vurnon Anita and Isaac Hayden dropping out due to rotation.
The back five is likely to stay the same for Newcastle with goalkeeper Karl Darlow dislodging summer signing Matz Sels earlier in the campaign.
Yedlin will likely be joined by Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett in a back four which has the third best defensive record in the Championship table.
Ahead of the defence is likely to see Jonjo Shelvey dictating the play alongside the high in energy Colback.
Meanwhile, the attacking midfield three is expected to see Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran retain their places on either flank with Perez down the middle.
The Frenchman bagged a goal in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Birmingham, while the summer signing from Bournemouth has five goals and seven assists from 21 encounters this season.
Championship top scorer Dwight Gayle will also be hoping to put the Wigan defence to the sword, having scored 16 goals in his first 18 appearances after joining from Crystal Palace in the summer.
Newcastle will be aiming for victory in an attempt to put some distance between themselves and second placed Brighton.
Meanwhile, Wigan are battling at the other end of the table in 23rd and a surprise win against the top club could see them out of the relegation zone.
In other Newcastle team news, Rob Elliot shared a message on Twitter after making his injury comeback on Monday evening.