Newcastle have brought 28 players over to Saudi Arabia for a warm weather training camp which will see them face Pro League champions Al Hilal on Thursday (5pm kick-off GMT).
For some players the trip is simply working to get back to full fitness for the return of competitive action against AFC Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on December 21 (7:45pm kick-off). For others, it is also a chance to impress Howe and stake a claim for a place in the starting line-up.
Some players already have their positions cemented in the starting line-up given Newcastle’s impressive start to the season meanwhile other places remain up for grabs.
Here are seven players who should be looking to impress Eddie Howe while in Saudi Arabia...
1. Matt Targett - must impress
Matt Targett was expected to be Newcastle’s first choice left-back in the Premier League this season but instead Dan Burn has slotted into the position in his place. With Burn battling illness recently and Fabian Schar still at the World Cup, Targett is likely to start at left-back against Al Hilal. He will have a chance to reclaim his spot at left-back for the competitive restart. Photo: Jan Kruger
2. Javier Manquillo - must impress
With an injury to Emil Krafth and Kieran Trippier with England at the World Cup, Manquillo is Newcastle’s first choice right-back in Saudi Arabia. The Spaniard has been limited to just two appearances so far this season and needs to prove to Howe that he can be relied on in Trippier’s absence.
3. Chris Wood - must impress
A goal against Southampton and a successful penalty in the shoot-out win against Crystal Palace saw Wood head into the World Cup break in good spirits. The 30-year-old, who turns 31 this week, is currently Newcastle’s only fit and available striker so it will be important that he can build on his encouraging displays before the break during this mini mid-season pre-season. Photo: George Wood
4. Jonjo Shelvey - must impress
Prior to Shelvey’s pre-season injury, many would have had him starting alongside Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton in Newcastle’s midfield. But months on the sidelines and the form of Sean Longtstaff and Joe Willock has seen the 30-year-old fall down the pecking order. He’s still a player Howe admires, but he will need to prove his quality in Saudi Arabia to have a chance of getting back to starting regular matches after the World Cup break. Photo: Stu Forster