Attacker axed in four changes: Newcastle best possible XI to face Barnsley
COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Newcastle should make four changes to their starting line-up for the final Championship game of the season against Barnsley on Sunday.
The Magpies have already secured promotion back to the Premier League and will clinch the title if they can better Brighton’s result away to Aston Villa.
Rafael Benitez should make four alterations from the team that beat Cardiff 2-0 and field an exciting attacking side.
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle should come back into the starting XI, with the latter facing a fitness test ahead of the weekend.
They should replace Mohamed Diame and Daryl Murphy in the side, who both offered little goal threat against Cardiff.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Newcastle attacker Murphy 34, has suffered with injuries this year, but despite that does not look like a player that can aid them in the Premier League next season.
Meanwhile, senior options Jonjo Shelvey and Karl Darlow should be restored, replacing Rob Elliot and Jack Colback.
Goalkeeper Darlow has been the number one for most of the season and Benitez has opted to rest him recently, but he should come back into the side after playing such a key role in promotion.
Darlow should come back in as the goalkeeper and he has kept an impressive 15 clean sheets in 36 appearances across all competitions.
The absence of Jamaal Lascelles means that the same defence should start with consisten pair DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummett in the full-back positions.
That leaves Chancel Mbemba and Ciaran Clark as the centre-back partnership.
Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu both turned in decent performances against Cardiff, meaning they should retain their spots and benefit from Matt Ritchie’s suspension.
Shelvey and Isaac Hayden should make up the central midfield area, and they could have the potential to start together in the top-flight.
That leaves an exciting forward line of Mitrovic and Gayle, depending on whether the latter is passed fit in time.
Gayle has been in sensational form in front of goal this campaign, scoring 22 goals in just 33 appearances across all competitions.
In other Newcastle team news, Elliot has slammed critics who made this bold claim about the club.