It looks like Chancel Mbemba and Papiss Cisse are the players who are now fit to play for tomorrow’s game against the Black Cats with Fabricio Coloccini still doubtful, and we will assume Colo is not fit to play tomorrow.
But it will be very good to have Chancel back in a back four that had only one regular starter at Leicester City – right-back Daryl Janmaat.
Gabby Obertan has also been training but we’d be surprised if he figures tomorrow.
Chancel Mbemba – fit again
Steven Taylor is a slight doubt for tomorrow after he seems to have suffered a slight knock in training, but we will assume he is fit.
So here’s the side that Rafa Benitez could play tomorrow afternoon in his home debut as the Newcastle manager at St. James’ Park.
Janmaat Taylor Mbemba Colback
Anita Shelvey (c)
Sissoko Wijnaldum Townsend
Subs: Darlow Lascelles Saivet Perez de Jong Cisse Doumbia
That’s a strong bench.
At center-back we think Taylor will just edge out Lascelles, because of his extra experience, although we have been impressed with the look of Jamaal when he’s played in the first team.
Now that Andros Townsend is fully fit, we prefer him to Ayoze Perez, although Rafa may not.
And who partners Shelvey in central midfield is a good question – we will stick with Vurnon Anita, even though he only had an average game on his return to the side from injury on Monday night.
Henri Saivet could get his chance tomorrow….
What would be your Newcastle team for what seems to be the most important derby game since 1990 – 26 years ago?
Certainly our fans are confident of a win.