Newcastle will look to consolidate their place among the English elite with a home victory over Wigan. The Magpies showed that their present standing is no fluke with a determined fightback in their previous game although the expectation will be for them to win comfortably against Wigan. The Latics currently sit 19th in the league table and have lost their last five matches, conceding a number of goals. Newcastle have a pretty good record over Wigan although they had to come back from two goals down to scrape a draw when they last met at St James’ Park.
Alan Pardew has no fresh injury problems to contend with as the club’s recent good fortune continues. That means the manager is likely to field the same starting XI that drew 2-2 with Tottenham and has featured for much of the season. There are plenty of players pushing for starts with Shola Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa making their cases with game changing cameos from the bench against Spurs. Former Wigan player Ryan Taylor is expected to keep his place in the team despite the return of Davide Santon. He was praised by Pardew in the build up to the game for his consistent displays at left back. Youngster Nile Ranger impressed for the reserves in midweek scoring two goals against Liverpool although due to the competition for places he is unlikely to even make the bench.
Newcastle remain in the hunt for a striker and have been linked with another move for Sochaux’s Modibo Maiga. The striker has started the season impressively in the French league and could be the subject of another bid in a few months when the transfer window reopens. It is believed that the Magpies have made progress in their talks with Sochaux and the player has made little secret of his desire to move. In the absence of a ‘big name’ striker Newcastle have fared well with 11 goals in their first eight games. Leon Best and Demba Ba have both impressed in front of goal despite doubts over their ability. The likes of the Ameobi brothers and Peter Lovenkrands have also come up with important goals in recent months to help the club remain unbeaten.
Possibly moving out of St James’ Park is Danny Simpson who has admitted to doubts over his future with the club. The right back was recently in court for a speeding offence and revealed he does not see his long-term future on Tyneside. He said: “There