COMMENT By Danny Wright
Newcastle will travel to Wigan on Saturday hoping to put an end to a three-game run without a win.
In that time, the Magpies have only scored one goal and if they blank against Wigan, Brighton will go top if they win.
Rafa Benitez’s side has been hit hard by injuries too, and Daryl Murphy, Ciaran Clark and DeAndre Yedlin are all expected to miss this weekend’s clash.
Here, Football Insider takes a look at three things we expect to happen when Newcastle meet the Latics at the DW Stadium.
22-year-old to prove the difference
Aleksandar Mitrovic has failed to make much of an impact on Tyneside this season, but on Saturday he could prove to be the difference. Dwight Gayle is expected to start the game but he has been struggling – scoring just one goal since injuring his hamstring in January. Mitrovic scored on international duty for Serbia this week and as a physical target man he could be brought off the bench towards the end of the game to help his team get an important result, whether as a goal scorer or provider.
A very nervy affair
Newcastle have to win against Wigan. Anything less could seriously dismantle their title bid. Wigan look destined for relegation back to League One but that makes them dangerous – they will be desperate for three points that could give them a chance of safety. After narrow losses in their last two outings, Wigan do pose a big threat to Newcastle and they will have to tread carefully when attacking in case they get exposed by the counter-attack. There may be a bit of rust to shake off for both sides following a two-week break for international football so supporters should expect a slow and nervy game.
Magpies clean sheet
Karl Darlow shouldn’t have too much to worry about – Wigan have only scored once in their last five matches. The Latics have scored fewer goals than any other team in the Championship during the campaign while Newcastle boast the best defensive record with just 32 goals conceded in 38 games. Wigan have shipped less goals than promotion-chasing Reading though and Newcastle have only scored one in three. It could be a low-scoring affair.
In other Newcastle news, this 26-year-old is expected to return to the fold in two changes against Wigan.