19 year-old Frenchman Mehdi Abeid gets a start this afternoon and comes in as a direct replacement for Cheick Tiote in defensive midfield.
And Ben Arfa comes in as the withdrawn striker to play just behind Leon Best up front, with the two Ameobi bothers both on the bench this afternoon.
And Gabriel Obertan makes a surprise return on the right wing and replaces Ryan Taylor, who drops down to the bench.
And Ryan is joined on the bench by Dan Gosling, who is back in the squad for the first time since being sent off at Norwich in early December.
Mehdi Abeid – big chance this afternoon
Alan Pardew had said he could use Abeid when Tiote left for the African Cup of Nations, and that will allow Yohan Cabaye to play as the attacking central midfielder this afternoon.
It’s a huge chance for Abeid and if he does well, he could have a run of five or six games in the first team while Tiote is away in Africa.
The five in defense are unchanged from Wednesday night, and this looks to be Newcastle’s best defense for the rest of the season – so let’s hope we can avoid any more injuries.
It’s interesting that neither Chris Samba nor Junior Hoilett are in the Blackburn squad at all, and Yakubu is only on the bench.
Looks like both Samba and Hoilett could be sold in January, and they do not want to be cup-tied.
We need to advance to the 4th round of the FA Cup this afternoon.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (c), Santon; Obertan, Abeid, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa; Best
Substitutes: Elliot, Perch, Taylor, Gosling, Vuckic, Ameobi, Ameobi
Blackburn (4-4-2): Bunn; Henley, Givet, Olsson, Hanley; Vukevic, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Pedersen; Rochina, Goodwille
Subs: Kean, Morris, Lowe, Blackman, Formica, Slew, Yakubu