Newcastle United fans will finally get what they want when the Magpies take on Bournemouth with Islam Slimani expected to make his very first appearance for the club.
The Toon Army have had two weeks to revel in their shock victory over Manchester United as a result of their absence from the FA Cup fifth round, but return to action on Saturday to take on the Cherries in what both sides will view as a relegation battle.
Newcastle’s victory over the Red Devils managed to launch them from the relegation zone into 13th, and Eddie Howe’s side sit three points and three places ahead in 10th, with the Magpies knowing that victory would ensure they leapfrogged their south coast opposition.
After an impressive win against Manchester United, and a clean bill of health for the majority of the first team, manager Rafael Benitez is not expected to make man changes to his starting XI, with just the one change.
Dwight Gayle, who has led the line for two successive matches, is likely to be axed in place of Slimani, who has put in extra effort over the two week break in order to recover from a thigh injury picked up while with parent side Leicester City.
Up front the Algerian, who fans have been desperate to see play after missing his first two games at the club, will likely be supported by Ayoze Perez and wingers Kenedy and Matt Ritchie, the Scottish international having scored his first goal of the season to sink Jose Mourinho’s men at St James’ Park.
In midfield the partnership of Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame is expected to continue after dominating in recent games, while Martin Dubravka will be hoping to replicate his debut heroics behind an unchanged back line.
In other Newcastle United news, fans have reacted to reports of the potential transfer exit of a firm favourite.