Steve McClaren is debating whether to recall Cheick Tiote to his starting XI – with Jack Colback set to miss out at the Etihad Stadium.
Tiote is back in training after recovering from the knee problem which has sidelined him since late August.
He (Colback) is a major concern for the weekend but again, if he’s not able to come out we’ve got other players ready to go out and play.Paul Simpson
And the midfielder’s return could be timely, with Colback not expected to be fit for Saturday’s game against Manchester City.
Colback – who is a booking away from an automatic one game suspension – was forced off against Chelsea last weekend with an injury, and assistant coach Paul Simpson has labelled the 25-year-old’s fitness a “major concern” for Steve McClaren.
“He’s a major concern for the weekend but again, if he’s not able to come out we’ve got other players ready to go out and play,” said Simpson.
McClaren could reshuffle his team in the absence of Colback, or bring in Tiote in a straight swap.
Tiote’s last appearance for the club came in the Capital One Cup win over Northampton Town on August 25.
Head coach McClaren launched a staunch defence of the 29-year-old after he was labelled a “bad egg” by a journalist on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement earlier this month.
He said: “There’s been no problem with Cheick.
“He’s not a bad egg at all. I know Cheick well. I obviously had him at Twente, and he’s no trouble. He doesn’t cause trouble, he just wants to play.”
Defensive pair Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara won’t be fit in time to face City.
Meanwhile, three young Newcastle players have been called up by England.
Adam Armstrong and Freddie Woodman have been selected for Under-19s fixtures against Macedonia, Finland and Italy. Alex Gilliead is in the Under-20 squad.