Newcastle United v Everton
David Moyes confirmed at his pre-match press conference that Darron Gibson is expected to be absent for up to a month with a thigh strain. Tony Hibbert is definitely out following calf surgery last month, although Marouane Fellaini is available again after serving his three-match suspension. It remains to be seen whether Phil Neville, Seamus Coleman and Kevin Mirallas will be fit enough to return after their respective stints on the sidelines.
Alan Pardew will be able to call upon centre-half Mike Williamson who returns after completing his one-match ban against Arsenal. However, right-back Danny Simpson will not play after breaking his toe against the Gunners. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye and defender Steven Taylor are back in training, though neither are fit enough for a return to competitive first-team action.
Last outing: 3-7 (a) Arsenal, 29 December 2012
Last six: LLLWLL
Newcastle find themselves lower in the league than expected at just past the halfway stage of the season and heading into Wednesday’s game they sit just two points above the drop zone. The Magpies have lost 50 percent of their Premier League matches in 2012/13 and have conceded 11 goals in their last two outings against Manchester United and Arsenal. However, last time out at St James’ Park they secured a narrow 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers.
Last outing: 1-2 (h) Chelsea, 30 December 2012
Last six: DWDWWL
Everton will be aiming to start another unbeaten run after their seven-match sequence without defeat came to an end on Sunday against Chelsea. At present, the Toffees are placed sixth in the Premier League table and a win on Wednesday would put David Moyes’ side within two points of the Champions League qualification positions.
Everton 2-2 Newcastle United, 17 September 2012
Everton were denied maximum points deep into stoppage time in the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park in September. Victor Anichebe looked to have snatched victory with an 87th-minute strike, only for Demba Ba to bag his second of the evening just moments before the full-time whistle. The former West Ham forward had earlier cancelled out Leighton Baines’ opening goal after entering the fray as a half-time substitute. The contest wasn’t without controversy as Everton also had two seemingly legitimate goals disallowed by the officials.
Everton 3-3 Newcastle United (Everton win 3-2 on pens), 30 December 2006
Just over 10 years ago, the two clubs were involved in a League Cup third round classic at St James’ Park, with Everton eventually winning after a dramatic penalty shootout. The tie had finished 3-3 after 120 minutes of action; Kevin Campbell, Steve Watson and David Unsworth were on target for the Blues, while a Kieron Dyer brace and an own goal from Alessandro Pistone ensured the tie went to spot-kicks. Richard Wright proved to be the hero in the shootout, saving from Hugo Viana and Laurent Robert to ensure victory. Everton exited the competition in the next round after losing 4-1 against Chelsea.
Everton have won their last three matches on this date, beating Carlisle United, Charlton Athletic and Bristol City in 2010, 2006 and 1999 respectively. The 2-0 win over the Robins at Ashton Gate came courtesy of a double from Ibrahima Bakayoko - two of seven goals the Ivorian scored in his solitary season at Goodison Park.
There have been a host of players who have worn both the black and white stripes of Newcastle and the blue of Everton. These include Duncan Ferguson, Steve Watson, Paul Gascoigne, David Ginola, Peter Beardsley, Gary Speed, Louis Saha and Paul Bracewell. The Magpies currently have Dan Gosling among their ranks, although the midfielder has only made 21 appearances since moving to the North East in the summer of 2010.
1) Everton have hit the frame of the goal 17 times in the Premier League this season, more than any other team.
2) In the eight previous meetings between David Moyes and Alan Pardew, Moyes has won on four occasions and suffered defeat just twice.
3) In the last four matches between the clubs, both teams have scored at least once. There has only been one goalless draw in the last 29 meetings.
Referee: M Atkinson
Assistant Referee: S Burt
Assistant Referee: A Halliday
Fourth Official: A Taylor
Tickets for this game have now sold out. Live commentary from St James’ Park will be available on evertonfc.com, with the broadcast starting shortly before kick-off at 8pm.
Our betting partner, Paddy Power, are offering some great odds on Wednesday's game. Here's our pick of the best:
Everton to win: 7/5
Draw half-time/Everton full-time: 9/2
Everton to win 3-1: 14/1
Phil Jagielka to score first: 25/1