Four changes in Benitez 4-4-2: Newcastle best possible XI v Preston
By Dominic Toner
Rafael Benitez should make four changes to his Newcastle side against Preston.
The Magpies host Championship rivals Preston in the EFL Cup fourth-round and both teams are in great form.
Preston are unbeaten in the last seven games in all competitions and knocked out Premier League opposition Bournemouth in the last round.
Manager Benitez has enjoyed a great turn around of form at St James’ Park and they are now top of the Championship, meaning he could be tempted to rest senior players in the cup.
Matz Sels, Mohamed Diane, Christian Atsu and Aleksandar Mitrovic should come into the team for the cup clash.
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With Karl Darlow, Jack Colback, Yohan Gouffran and Dwight Gayle the players who should be rested.
Benitez should freshen up his side for Preston but at the same time keep the core to continue their impressive momentum.
Newcastle recorded a convincing 3-0 league win against Ipswich in their last match and will hope to continue their cup run on Tuesday.
Self should get the opportunity to start against Preston in goal, with Benitez rotating his current first-choice goalkeeper Darlow.
The Magpies have kept two consecutive clean sheets and they should allow the same back four to continue their partnership.
Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie should retain their places in midfield and have adapted fantastically since their summer arrivals.
Diame and Atsu have both shown glimpses of their talents since arriving at St James’ Park and should be given the opportunity to impress against Preston.
Forward Perez scored a fantastic brace in his last match and should partner the returning Mitrovic in attack, meaning the club’s talisman Gayle gets a rest.
Newcastle face Preston just days later in a league encounter and will want to work out his best XI in the cup tie.
In other Newcastle team news, the club’s supporters reacted on Twitter to Perez’s performance against Ipswich.