Brighton & Hove Albion will be looking to record back-to-back victories when they visit Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, as Chris Hughton’s side make their third visit to St James’ Park in as many seasons, kick-off 3pm.
The Seagulls sealed three points in their final game before the recent international break, as they claimed a hard-fought 1-0 victory over West Ham United at the Amex Stadium, thanks to Glenn Murray’s 99th goal for the club.
The striker could reach the 100-goal milestone at St James’ Park this weekend, which would confirm his place in the club’s history books as the post-war record goalscorer.
But the Magpies will be keen to shut out the Seagulls and record their first victory of the season, having lost their opening four matches at St James’ Park.
Hughton confimed that Davy Propper will miss the game after picking up an ankle injury against West Ham United, and the midfielder will be out for a period of weeks.
Late decisions will be made on availability of Pascal Gross and Dale Stephens, who are both returning from injury, while Gaetan Bong could also be a doubt after not playing while on international duty.
Newcastle have a few injury concerns - Ciaran Clark withdrew from Republic of Ireland’s squad with a thigh injury, while Salomon Rondon and Paul Dummett have missed recent games with muscular injuries.
Florian Lejeune remains Newcastle’s only long-term absentee, as the defender continues to recover from a knee injury sustained in July.
The Seagulls recorded their second victory of the season to climb into 13th position before the international break, in what was a cagey encounter on the south coast.
Albion opened the scoring through Murray, who converted from Beram Kayal’s neat cross, and Hughton’s side managed to hold on for victory despite a pressurised second-half performance from the Hammers.
September ended with defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, but Albion showed character to come back from 2-0 down and draw 2-2 against both Fulham and Southampton towards the beginning of the month.
The Magpies found themselves 2-0 up against Manchester United at Old Trafford last time out, but an inspired second-half performance from the Red Devils saw them overturn the deficit and win 3-2.
Home defeats to Arsenal and Leicester City came either side of a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, while September began with a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
LAST TIME WE MET:
Albion’s final fixture of 2017 saw them come up against Newcastle United and the sides played out a cagey goalless draw at St James’ Park.
Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy caused a number of problems from set-pieces, but neither defender was able to break the deadlock, as the Irishman headed narrowly over and his team-mate was denied by Karl Darlow.
Maty Ryan was called into action on a few occasions, and the Australian shot-stopper ensured his team would leave the north east with a point, as he produced fine saves from Dwight Gayle and Isaac Hayden.
LAST TIME OUT: ALBION
WEST HAM UNITED 0
Albion line-up: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Propper (Bissouma 80), Kayal; Knockaert, March (Locadia 86), Jahanbakhsh (Izquierdo 70); Murray.
Subs not used: Button (GK), Balogun, Bernardo, Andone.
LAST TIME OUT: NEWCASTLE UNITED
MANCHESTER UNITED 3
NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
Newcastle line-up: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy (Murphy 68); Perez (Joselu 88); Muto (Atsu 78).
Subs not used: Darlow (GK), Clark, Schar, Hayden.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Yoshinori Muto
The Japanese striker, who joined Newcastle from Bundesliga side Mainz 05 this summer, scored his opening goal for the club on his first Premier League start, as he fired home against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Muto had previously made six appearances in the Premier League, but Rafael Benitez had only introduced the forward off the bench inside the final 25 minutes of each of those matches.
With the confidence of scoring his first goal for the club, and potentially a second league start in succession, Muto could be one to watch at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year-old scored 23 goals for Mainz 05 before moving to England, with a further 26 goals coming for FC Tokyo during his time in Japan.