PREVIEW: Newcastle United vs Huddersfield Town – 31/03/18

Newcastle United vs Huddersfield Town

Date: 31/03/18

K/O: 15:00pm

Venue: St James Park

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United host David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town on Saturday in an undeniable six pointer at the bottom of the Premier League table.

Both sides will head into this fixture with a keen eye below them, separated by a single point and precariously balanced above the relegation zone. Newcastle remain 13th, while Saturday’s opponents Huddersfield are placed in 15th – a victory would go a long way to ensuring survival for either side.

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Newcastle United’s form has been rectified after a mid-season wobble and they will head into the encounter confident of their ability to ensure a result. Their win over Southampton last time out, by a three goal margin, meant they had won back to back home games for the first time since September and Benitez will be hopeful of adding a third to that. January signings have made a monumental difference at St James Park, with goalkeeper Martin Dubravka surely unable to have made a better start on Tyneside.

Meanwhile, Kenedy is finally proving his potential after underwhelming loan spells elsewhere and delivered a brace last time out. Ritchie after first appearing to be a doubt has overcome a minor injury and will attempt to carry the momentum his gained into this fixture, while Slimani could make his debut after recovering from a thigh strain.

After a sensational start to the campaign David Wagner’s side have stuttered since the turn of the year, losing seven of their last ten fixtures. Their last game against Crystal Palace was a bitter disappointment as they’ve struggled for goals throughout the league campaign, scoring the second lowest amount in the league – only the dismal West Brom have scored fewer.

Wagner recently stated “we are in the most exciting period of the season and entering the last few yards”, those yards will appear significantly less exciting if they fail to evade the drop. Aaron Mooy gave Huddersfield all three points in the reverse fixture and should remain fit to play after picking up a knock in the international break. Although Hefele and Williams are out for the rest of the season and will play no part this weekend.

Predicted line-ups:

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez, Gayle   

Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Schindler, Lowe; Whitehead, Hogg; Kachunga, Pritchard, Van La Parra; Mounie

Predicted score: Newcastle United 1-0 Huddersfield Town 

Written by Harvey Sayer.

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