Shay Given is ruled out again, with his persistent groin injury, so Steve Harper comes back for his seventh start of the season.
Big Sam has also recalled Steven Taylor to the line-up at right back, with Alan Smith, Charles N’Zogbia and James Milner also in the starting eleven. At least we’ll have some width today, unlike last week.
There is no place for Geremi, Emre, Oba Martins or Habib Beye in the starting eleven, and Beye is not even included in the substitutes.
Nicky Butt is captain in the absence of Geremi, while midfield partner Joey Barton makes his full home debut. This is a brave choice by manager Sam Allardyce – and it looks a good and balanced attacking team.
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Jose Enrique, Claudio Cacapa, Abdoulaye Faye, James Milner, Charles N’Zogbia, Nicky Butt, Joey Barton, Michael Owen, Alan Smith
Subs: Fraser Forster, David Rozehnal, Emre, Geremi, Oba Martins
Portsmouth: David James, Sol Campbell, Sylvain Distin, John Utaka, Niko Kranjcar, Papa Bouba Diop, Glen Johnson, Sulley Muntari, Noe Pamarot, Sean Davis, Benjani
Subs: Jamie Ashdown, Matt Taylor, Lauren, Nwanko Kanu, Pedro Mendes