Mitrovic and Lascelles axed: Best combined Newcastle and Huddersfield XI
By Danny Wright
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Jamaal Lascelles would be two notable absentees in a combined starting line-up comprised of Newcastle and Huddersfield players.
The Magpies travel to Yorkshire on Saturday evening as they prepare to take on a massive challenge in their quest for an instant return to the Premier league.
Rafa Benitez’s side will be boosted after they secured a monumental victory over Brighton on Tuesday which saw them leapfrog Chris Hughton’s side to reclaim top spot in the Championship.
Huddersfield are perhaps the main threat to Newcastle’s automatic promotion hopes as they sit in third place, eight points behind the Tynesiders.
Karl Darlow, although suffering with a temporary blip in form, would be the clear choice to take the number one spot in the combined eleven.
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Danny Ward is nowhere near the quality of Darlow who plays behind a defence that mainly consists of his teammates.
Paul Dummett has enjoyed a great season with the Toon and starts at left-back over Tareiq Holmes-Dennis. While DeAndre Yedlin’s top tier and international experience mean he’s an easy pick over Tom Smith.
Michael Hefele had to fit into the side as he has enjoyed a brilliant debut season at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The German centre-back has scored five goals in all competitions for the Terriers which puts him straight into the side, which leaves Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles to battle it out to partner him.
Clark has been a lot more solid this season than his counterpart who, despite captaining the side this season, has had some really shaky performances as of late.
The former Aston Villa centre-back is a more solid choice for a centre-back spot.
The midfield is again ruled by Newcastle players as Philip Billing is the only Huddersfield player to make the cut.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant season for the Yorkshire club and will come in over out-of-form Jack Colback.
Jonjo Shelvey, Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie make up the rest of the midfield due to their fine form over the season and are clearly playing below their level in the Championship.
Up front, Dwight Gayle is partnered by Huddersfield top goalscorer Elis Kachunga.
Both players are their respective clubs top goalscorers which is perhaps the best way to judge strikers.
Mitrovic, despite playing well this season, has not scored anywhere near the goals Gayle has, which means he will be the Toon representative to head the attack.
Kachunga also comes in for some stiff competition from teammates. Nahki Wells and Izzy Brown have both shown their goalscoring capabilities this term but the 24-year-olds 11 goals to Well’s nine and Brown’s four means his an easy choice.
In total, the combined eleven has eight Magpies players to Huddersfield’s three – which is no surprised given the recent history, and spending habits, of either side.
However the Terriers will no doubt be looking to prove this wrong when they take matters to the pitch on Saturday.
In other Newcastle news, why the club should let his 30-year-old leave in the summer.