Confirmed Newcastle line-up v Brentford: Benitez makes eight changes
By Dominic Toner
Newcastle have made eight changes to their starting XI against Brentford in the Championship.
The Magpies travel to Griffin Park on Saturday for the league clash and will be looking to consolidate their place in the automatic spots.
Rafael Benitez has decided to make eight alterations to his team from the side that drew 1-1 with Birmingham in the FA Cup third-round tie last Saturday.
Jamaal Lascelles, DeAndre Yedlin and Jack Colback are the only survivors from the Birmingham draw.
Newcastle have announced their starting line-up on their official Twitter account.
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Karl Darlow, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez, Yoan Gouffran and Dwight Gayle have come into the side.
Matz Sels, Grant Hanley, Massadio Haidara, Achraf Lazaar, Vurnon Anita, Cheick Tiote, Daryl Murphy and Aleksandar Mitrovic have dropped out.
Newcastle are currently second-placed in the league table, but will now be looking over their shoulders at the chasing pack.
Garry Monk’s Leeds recorded an impressive victory of Derby on Friday night to move just four points behind them, while Reading and Huddersfield are also in contention for an automatic spot.
Benitez will be keen to extend his side’s lead over them and will be focused on catching leaders Brighton.
They suffered a 1-0 away defeat to Blackburn in their last league outing and will now hope to put a good run of results together.
Newcastle have lost three of their last seven league games and know their form must improve if they are to remain at the top-end of the table.
In other Newcastle team news, Guillem Balague claims the club are ironing out last details of midfielder deal.