Newcastle United welcome league leaders Everton to St James' Park on Sunday afternoon, hoping to inflict a second straight defeat on the surprise table toppers in as many weeks.

Everton were humbled by Southampton on the south coast last weekend, and will travel to the North East without defender Lucas Digne, who was sent off for a tackle on Kyle Walker-Peters. The Frenchman was initially banned for three games, but has since saw his punishment reduced to one game on appeal. Richarlison is also suspended, as he serves the second of a three-match ban for a red card received in the Merseyside derby.

That could mean a first Premier League start for Niels Nkounkou at left-back, after catching the eye in Everton’s Carabao Cup campaign earlier this season, while Alex Iwobi is likely to deputise for the Brazilian.

The Toffees should also be able to rely on James Rodriguez, who made it through 90 minutes against Southampton despite being a doubt before the game with a knock, but captain Seamus Coleman is missing with a hamstring injury, meaning Ben Godfrey could continue at right-back. Mason Holgate is also out with a toe injury.

Newcastle could be boosted by the return of Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark to the squad, with both defenders closing in on full fitness after long-term injuries. Jonjo Shelvey is out after undergoing hernia surgery, but Isaac Hayden could return to midfield after being benched as a precaution in the draw with Wolves. Captain Jamaal Lascelles is a major doubt with a foot injury suffered at Molineux, so Fabian Schar could play alongside Federico Fernandez at the back.

Ryan Fraser started that game in an unfamiliar centre midfield role, but with Sean and Matty Longstaff also close to full fitness, could miss out. After an impressive game at right wing-back last week, Jacob Murphy could continue for the Magpies if they choose to field a back five again.

Newcastle take on Everton at St James’ Park on Sunday, November 1st. Kick off is at 2pm.

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