MAPOU Yanga-Mbiwa is on standby to face Manchester City’s Jesus Navas tonight.
Manager Alan Pardew is likely to be without left-back Davide Santon for Newcastle United’s season-opener at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Santon is short of fitness because of a minor hip problem.
And versatile defender Yanga-Mbiwa and former Academy player Paul Dummett are vying to line up against Navas.
The more experienced Yanga-Mbiwa could get the nod over Dummett – yet to make his Premier League debut – and face pacy winger Navas, who joined the club from Sevilla this summer.
“Davide is struggling – he has a slight hip flexor strain, and we think he needs more work,” Pardew told the Gazette.
Pardew rates Spain international Navas highly, and he knows stopping the £15m player will be key to Newcastle’s chances of getting a result at Eastlands, where the club has never won a game.
He added: “Navas, in my opinion, is probably the best signing of the summer. He’s a little bit special.”
Dummett – who spent the bulk of last season on loan at St Mirren – has impressed in Newcastle’s warm-up games, and is in United’s squad for the City game.
Asked if the 21-year-old was a natural replacement for Santon, Pardew said: “He has a chance, but you can’t assume he is going to start.”
Pardew believes Wales Under-21 international Dummett – who signed a new one-year deal at St James’s Park this summer – could make 10 first-team starts this summer.
Meanwhile, winger Jonas Gutierrez (thigh) is expected to be available along with defender Steven Taylor, who sat out training on Friday.