Newcastle v Watford
Venue: St. James’s Park
Kick off: 4PM
Newcastle will have Mikel Merino available when they look to end a three-game losing run against Watford on Saturday (today).
Merino, who joined in the summer from Borussia Dortmund, has not featured since scoring the winner against Crystal Palace last month.
Newcastle have lost all three games in his absence, but manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful his return from injury can provide a boost.
“To have him coming back is good news for everybody here,” he said. “We have to be sure that we correct things quickly, and if we make a mistake, change that quickly.”
While Newcastle have lost their last three games, Watford snapped a three-match losing run with victory over West Ham last time out.
But there is continued speculation over the position of manager Marco Silva, who played down speculation linking him with Everton on Thursday.
Hornets captain Troy Deeney serves the final game of a three-match suspension, while defenders Craig Cathcart (knee) and Younes Kaboul (hamstring), midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah (knee) and forward Isaac Success (knee) are still injured.
Spanish full-back Kiko Femenia is available to play after being forced off with cramp against West Ham on Sunday.
Newcastle have lost just one of their last 12 home league games against Watford (W8 D3), though that did come in the last such meeting in September 2015 (1-2), while Watford won both league games against Newcastle United in the 2015-16 campaign, but they’ve never previously managed to beat them in three consecutive league meetings.
In all competitions, Watford beat Newcastle three times in 2015-16, including an FA Cup third-round tie – one of just 10 occasions the Hornets have beaten the same side at least three times within the same season.
After losing three times in their opening nine games of the Premier League season (W4 D2 L3), Newcastle United have now lost three games in a row and scored just one goal in this run.
Newcastle possible XI: Elliot, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Mikel, Murphy, Gayle, Joselu.
Watford possible XI: Gomes, Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos, Kiko, Cleverley, Doucoure, Zeegelaar, Hughes, Richarlison, Gray.