NEWCASTLE UNITED v EVERTON
ST JAMES' PARK
WEDNESDAY 13 DECEMBER
Sam Allardyce has confirmed there are no changes from the squad that he had available for the Merseyside derby, meaning Leighton Baines (calf) will once again miss out, as do long-term absentees Seamus Coleman (broken leg), Maarten Stekelenburg [groin], Ramiro Funes Mori [knee] and Ross Barkley, and James McCarthy [both hamstring]. Yannick Bolasie continued his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury by playing half an hour for the Under-23s on Monday but is not yet ready for a first-team call.
Everton took a point in the Merseyside derby through a Wayne Rooney penalty in the 77th minute at Anfield on Sunday afternoon in a 1-1 draw. That extended the Blues’ unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions, conceding just the one goal – Mohamed Salah’s opener for Liverpool – in the process.
Newcastle slumped to their ninth defeat of the season at the weekend after going down 3-2 to Leicester City at St James’ Park. The Magpies had taken the lead early in the first half through Joselu, before Riyad Mahrez equalised. Demarai Gray gave the Foxes the lead but Dwight Gayle brought the home side back on level terms. However an unfortunate Ayoze Perez own goal meant Newcastle dropped to 16th, having lost three matches on the bounce at home.
ONE TO WATCH: DWIGHT GAYLE
Dwight Gayle joined Newcastle from Crystal Palace in 2016 and since then has scored 26 goals in 45 games, including three times in the Premier League this season, with the London-born striker grabbing 18 top-flight goals in 77 appearances following his stint at Palace. Last season, Gayle was instrumental as Newcastle secured promotion back to the Premier League, winning the PFA Fans’ Championship Player of the Year having scored 23 goals and grabbing two assists.
LAST TIME: NEWCASTLE 0-1 EVERTON
The last time Everton visited St James’ Park was Boxing Day 2015, when Tom Cleverley was the hero, scoring the only goal of the game in the 93rd minute to give the Blues their first win in five games. The midfielder was on hand to stoop and direct a header into the back of the net following Rob Elliot’s punch from a corner as the Toffees climbed to ninth place, giving Cleverley his first goal in 10 games.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE: MARTIN ATKINSON
The experienced Atkinson will be the man in the middle for Wednesday night’s match as he continues in his 13th season as a Premier League official. Atkinson has taken charge of 10 top-flight games this season and, in his last appearance, gave a red card to Davison Sanchez when Tottenham played Watford. Atkinson has refereed Everton once this season, the 2-1 win against Bournemouth in September.