Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is expected to keep faith with the majority of his side when Watford visit St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies come into the clash off the back of a heavy 4-1 defeat away at Manchester United, while the Hornets swept aside West Ham in a 2-0 victory.

The results mean that going into the clash, Benitez sees his side sitting three places and four points behind the visitors, who secured their first win in four games last weekend.

With both Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu certain absentees from the clash, and Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett serious doubts, the Spanish boss has a limited squad to work with, but fans can still expect to see changes made.

Ayoze Perez, who has been axed from the side for the last two games, and Mo Diame, should come into the side in place of Joselu and Isaac Hayden, with the midfielder set to serve a one match ban for his accumulation of yellow cards.

With limited options at the back, Benitez is unlikely to swap any of his defensive stars around, although he will be enforced into a change in the middle of the park.

With Isaac Hayden banned for his five yellow cards, Diame is the likely replacement, with Merino not yet fit enough to return to the first team line up.

Up front, Jacob Murphy, who had his best game in a Newcastle shirt at Old Trafford, should be joined by regular Ritchie and the returning Perez, who Newcastle have been missing in recent weeks, in supporting Dwight Gayle up front, who netted against the Red Devils.

In other Newcastle United news, the club are looking to get rid of this £40,000-a-week figure.

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