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17th Oct, 2016 | 1:37pm

Newcastle expected 4-2-3-1 v Barnsley: Attacking duo axed

By Harvey Byrne

Matt Ritchie is expected to return in place of Christian Atsu who is likely to be dropped to the bench as Newcastle travel to Yorkshire to face Barnsley on Tuesday.

Atsu has started in place of the former Bournemouth man in the last two fixtures, but given the short recovery time from their win against Brentford on Saturday manager Rafa Benitez could be tempted to replace the former Chelsea man with Ritchie.

Another change could see forward Aleksandar Mitrovic join the line-up in place of Spanish attacker Ayoze Perez in the side’s attacking midfield role.

The Serbian is unlikely to be happy with a position on the bench, but also given the form of striker Dwight Gayle, who bagged two goals against the Bees Benitez may be forced to shoehorn Mitrovic into his team for playing time.

Karl Darlow is expected to remain in goal, with Rob Elliot injured and summer signing Matz Sels on the bench.

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It is likely that he will stick with the same defence of Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett proving successful in the previous two fixtures.

Ahead of them will be Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Colback, who have also protected the defence well in the last encounters and Shelvey even played a star role going forward with two assists against Brentford.

Meanwhile, Yoan Gouffran has also impressed in the new campaign and he is expected to line-up in the club’s attack alongside Mitrovic, Gayle and Ritchie.

Barnsley have lost their last two fixtures, which includes a heavy 4-2 defeat suffered against Fulham on the weekend.

They are currently sat in 11th place, but they do boast the attacking talents of Sam Winnall and Marley Watkins, who both got on the score sheet against the Cottagers.

In other Newcastle team news, Kenny Jackett hailed Shelvey’s performance against Brentford.