By Will Butcher

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez could make as many as eight changes as he prepares his side for their second game against Wolves in four days.

The Magpies lost 2-0 to Walter Zenga’s side on Saturday, after a disappointing performance that ended their run of six consecutive league and cup wins.

Top scorer Dwight Gayle is expected to be rested ahead of Saturday’s heavyweight clash with Aston Villa, giving Serbia international Aleksander Mitrovic just his third start of the season.


The former Real Madrid manager revealed in his pre-match press conference that changes would be made to keep everyone “on their toes”.

Benitez was quoted by Newcastle official’s Twitter account on Monday afternoon that he believes “everyone can help and make a difference.”

A defensive reshuffle is expected, as Benitez looks to bring in almost £20million of defensive talent. Centre-backs Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark could be handed starts, while speed merchant DeAndre Yedlin could come in, as could former Serie A left-footer Achraf Lazaar.

Combative midfielder Jack Colback could replace former Arsenal midfielder Isaac Hayden alongside Jonjo Shelvey, while Christian Atsu is expected to be given his first start.

Yoann Gouffran could also start to increase the number of changes to eight, giving the likes of Matt Ritchie and Mohamed Diame a deserved rest as the Magpies prepare for the fourth game in 10 days.

In other Newcastle news, Benitez gave an update on the availability of this international star.