Newcastle hope to end a run of two straight defeats as Wolves visit St James' Park on Saturday night

After losing two in a row to teams in the top five, Newcastle hope to return to winning ways when Wolves visit St James’ Park on Saturday night.

Newcastle’s recent run has saw them slip closer to the relegation zone than anyone would have liked, with Fulham’s improvement meaning the gap is just three points going into the game.

Wolves have enjoyed a turnaround of late, and have won three of their last four league games. The most recent of which came at home to Leeds courtesy of Adama Traore’s thunderstrike, which cannoned in off the back of Illan Meslier in the Whites goal.

That win combined with the 2-1 success at Southampton leave Wolves still in with a real chance of finishing in the top ten, and they could climb into ninth if other results favour them this weekend.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has struggled without Callum Wilson since he suffered a hamstring injury, and the former Bournemouth man is not fit to face Wolves, with next week’s clash with West Brom a more likely comeback date.

There’s better news in defence for the Magpies, as Federico Fernandez is expected to be fit after a thigh injury. Paul Dummett is also available and rumoured to be challenging Jamal Lewis for the nod at left-back.

At right-back, Javier Manquillo isn’t yet fit as he recovers from a badly twisted ankle, so Emil Krafth will continue there, and Fabian Schar’s season is over after suffering a bad knee injury in the win over Southampton.

Bruce must decide which of his attacking options is best suited for the challenge of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, with neither Dwight Gayle or Joelinton particularly impressing against Chelsea or Man United. That could mean a rare start for Andy Carroll, who is enjoying an injury-free season so far.

The mood around Wolves’ training ground this week was massively boosted by the return to light training of Raul Jimenez, who hasn’t been seen since suffering a fractured skull against Arsenal last year. The Mexican hopes to return before the end of the season, but is understandably taking things slowly.

Diminutive forward Daniel Podence is also missing for Wolves as he continues to recover from a groin injury, while defensive pair Willy Boly and Fernando Marcal will also miss out with problems.

On-loan striker Willian Jose should continue up front with impressive winger Pedro Neto, who has contributed to nine goals in what is proving to be a breakthrough season.

If Newcastle can stop those two and grind out a win, it could give them some much needed comfort at the bottom of the table, with Fulham set to overtake them on Sunday should they beat Crystal Palace and Newcastle lose to Wolves.

Squeaky bum time for Steve Bruce.

Newcastle take on Wolves at St James’ Park on Saturday, February 27th. Kick-off is at 8pm.

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Marley Anderson

Sport Social Editor

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