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Newcastle expected 4-2-3-1 v Derby: Benitez to reshuffle squad with three changes

By Will Butcher

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is set to make three changes from the side that beat Brighton, as the Toon face Nigel Pearson’s Derby in Saturday’s tea-time kick-off.

The former Real Madrid manager brought in left-sided Palermo star Achraf Lazaar, experienced goal machine Daryl Murphy and Ghana international Christian Atsu in the final days of the transfer window.

Chelsea loanee Atsu signed on deadline day for the North East outfit, and he could be thrown in at the deep end in place of Yoann Gouffran as the Magpies travel to Pride Park for the first time in six years.

Former Tottenham and Sunderland speed merchant DeAndre Yedlin is set to start at right-back instead of Holland international Vurnon Anita.

New centre-back signings Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark will have to wait for their chance as manager Benitez looks to create some consistency at the heart of his defence with captain Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba.

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Elsewhere, Dwight Gayle is expected to return to the starting line-up after recovering from a head injury that he picked up in the EFL Cup against Cheltenham Town.

New signings Murphy and Lazaar will have to settle for a place on the bench, as will aggressive striker Aleksander Mitrovic and Spanish star Ayoze Perez.

The Magpies will be looking to make it five wins in a row in all competitions, after beating the likes of Bristol City, Reading and Brighton and could move into the automatic promotion spots if they beat the Rams.

In other Newcastle news, this ex-Magpie was caught in Turkey’s military coup during the summer.