Sheffield Wednesday vs. Newcastle: How Magpies Will Line Up in Friendly
After assessing his options following their adventures down under, Magpies boss Alan Pardew is expected to name an experimental side, combining youth and experience.
With a number of stars still away on extended leave after their exertions at the World Cup, the door is open for some of the squad’s fringe players to make their mark.
So ahead of Wednesday night’s friendly clash in South Yorkshire, Bleacher Report takes a close look at how the Magpies could line up against Stuart Gray’s Owls.
Goalkeeper: Jak Alnwick
The trip to Hillsborough will come too soon for Tim Krul, who is yet to figure for Newcastle United since his heroics for the Netherlands at the World Cup.
And with Rob Elliot starting both games in New Zealand, manager Alan Pardew could rest his second-choice stopper in favour of youngster Jak Alnwick.
The 21-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the Toon’s opening pre-season match at Oldham Athletic, and he could be given another chance to impress before the squad fly out to Germany for the Schalke 04 Cup.
Full-Backs: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Paul Dummett
With Dutch international Daryl Janmaat waiting in the wings to make his Newcastle United debut, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s temporary spell at right-back is coming to an end.
However, the Frenchman covered the position in both Wellington and Dunedin last week, and he should retain a starting place at Sheffield Wednesday due to Janmaat’s lack of fitness.
On the opposite flank, Paul Dummett could come in to the side to replace Massadio Haidara after the left-back was given the nod for the Toon’s southern hemisphere fixtures.
Centre-Backs: Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor
Centre-half Mike Williamson has been conspicuous by his absence so far this summer, and Alan Pardew could be tempted to test his fitness with a start at Sheffield Wednesday.
The 30-year-old made over 30 appearances for the Magpies last term but is yet to play a single minute this pre-season.
Alongside him, Steven Taylor could be asked to fill in for captain Fabricio Coloccini, with the Argentine set to be rested ahead of two games in two days in Germany this weekend.
Promising young defender Lubo Satka is also expected to feature at some point in South Yorkshire, as is 19-year-old centre-back Remie Streete.
Central Midfielders: Jack Colback and Mehdi Abeid
Former Sunderland man Jack Colback has made a good first impression after crossing the Tyne-Wear divide, and he will look to continue in a similar vein against Sheffield Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Geordie has looked neat and tidy in pre-season and has given Alan Pardew a new set of options in central midfield ahead of Cheick Tiote’s return.
Alongside Colback, the Toon boss could opt to hand a start to Mehdi Abeid. The Algerian is another who has turned heads so far this summer and he’ll be hoping to make a big impact ahead of the new campaign.
An appearance of some description for Gael Bigirimana is also expected in South Yorkshire.
Attacking Midfielder: Siem De Jong
After netting twice in three pre-season fixtures so far, Newcastle United fans are already purring about new boy Siem De Jong following his arrival from Ajax this month.
And providing he recovers from the toe injury that saw him withdrawn early against Wellington, the Dutchman should be given the go-ahead at Hillsborough.
Used as an advanced playmaker, the 25-year-old is set to make a big impression next season and could turn out to be one of the bargains of the summer.
Wingers: Rolando Aarons and Shane Ferguson
Alan Pardew’s decision to give youth a chance against Sheffield Wednesday this week could spell good news for wingers Shane Ferguson and Rolando Aarons.
Ferguson spent the entirety of last term on-loan with Birmingham City, and he is yet to figure for Newcastle United during their current pre-season programme.
But that could all change at Hillsborough, with the 23-year-old set to come in from the cold on the opposite wing to Aarons, who has impressed in a wide role so far this summer.
Centre-Forward: Ayoze Perez
With competition from Geordie forwards Adam Campbell and Adam Armstrong, new boy Ayoze Perez will be desperate to make an impression if he's given the nod up front on Wednesday.
The former CD Tenerife man has featured in all of Newcastle United's friendly fixtures so far and has shown some nice touches each time he's emerged from the substitutes bench.
Alan Pardew is expected to rest Emmanuel Riviere, meaning Perez could be given the chance to grab his first goal in English football and force his way into the manager's thinking ahead of this weekend's double-header in Germany.