Jack Colback returns to Newcastle side in place of banned Jonjo Shelvey

Jack Colback
Jack Colback

Rafa Benitez has named his Newcastle United starting XI for tonight's Boxing Day game against Sheffield Wednesday.

The two sides take each other on at a sold-out St James's Park in a televised fixture (7.45pm kick-off).

United manager Benitez is without Jonjo Shelvey, who will serve the first match of a five-game ban for racially abusing an opponent.

READ MORE: Paul Dummett reacts to 'criticism' from Newcastle fans

And Benitez has recalled fit-again Jack Colback to his midfield in the absence of Shelvey.

Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran also return to the starting XI in place of DeAndre Yedlin and Christian Atsu respectively.

Championship leaders Newcastle are a point ahead of second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.

United are six points ahead of third-placed Reading, who beat Norwich City 3-1 at the Madejski Stadium today.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Hayden, Colback; Ritchie, Diame, Gouffran; Gayle. Subs: Sels, Yedlin, Lazaar, Mbemba, Atsu, Perez, Mitrovic.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Pudil, Wallace, Hutchinson, Bannan, Reach, Forestieri, Fletcher. Subs: Wildsmith, Jones, Abdi, Joao, Hunt, Sasso, Nuhiu.

For updates from St James's Park, follow NUFC writer Miles Starforth on Twitter here