Steve McClaren has dropped a strong hint that Jonjo Shelvey will captain Newcastle United at the Britannia Stadium.
Skipper Fabricio Coloccini – who was heavily criticised for his performance in the club's 5-1 defeat to Chelsea last month – will miss tomorrow night's game against Stoke City with a calf problem.
And midfielder Shelvey, signed from Swansea City in January, is the leading contender to lead McClaren's relegation-threatened side.
Asked who would captain Newcastle at Stoke, McClaren said: "You'll find that out tomorrow.
"We need someone to drive this team and lead by example both playing and vocally.
"It will be interesting to see after a lot of criticism about the team interesting to see how we cope without Colo and see who steps forward.
"We've talked a lot about bringing in characters with Shelvey and (Andros) Townsend.
"He (Shelvey) has certainly been vocal. It's about everybody, and we've lacked that especially away from home, and that's one of the reasons we're not winning.
"The captain has to envelop what you are trying to say.
"That's one of the reasons we brought Jonjo Shelvey into this club because he epitomises what we want to achieve going forward.
"He flicks a coin and says which way you're kicking, but we need 11 captains out there. Sometimes we've had 11, sometimes we've had three or four, and that's not good enough."