Dwight Gayle and Christian Atsu return to Newcastle starting XI

Dwight Gayle
Dwight Gayle

Rafa Benitez has named his starting XI for Newcastle United's game against Fulham.

The two clubs take each other on at St James's Park in the Championship this afternoon (3pm kick-off).

And Rafa Benitez, celebrating his first anniversary at Newcastle, has made four changes.

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Dwight Gayle, Christian Atsu, Mohamed Diame and Vurnon Anita all come into Benitez's starting XI, while Aleksandar Mitrovic is among the substitutes.

Benitez said: "Today marks the anniversary of the day I became manager of this great club and that makes me very proud."

United's manager is without DeAndre Yedlin, Isaac Hayden and Rolando Aarons through injury, while Jamie Sterry has undergone a groin operation.

Newcastle lead the division from Brighton and Hove Albion on goal difference.

Fulham, seventh in the table, need a win to keep their hopes of a play-off place alive.

Meanwhile, if Matt Ritchie and Jack Colback, both on nine yellow cards, avoid a booking against Fulham, they will have the threat of a two-game suspension lifted.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback; Ritchie, Diame, Atsu; Gayle. Subs: Elliot, Hanley, Perez, Gouffran, Gamez, Murphy, Mitrovic.

FULHAM: Button, Malone, Odoi, McDonald, Kebano, Cairney, Ream, Johansen, Aluko, Kalas, Sessegnon. Subs: Bettinelli, Fredericks, Parker, Madl, Sigurdsson, Cyriac. Martin.