Hull City will move out of the relegation zone if they can see off a Newcastle United side who will play their first game since John Carver was confirmed to be in charge until the end of the season.
The Tigers have fallen back into danger thanks to two successive away defeats, where they were severely hampered by the absence of a number of key players. Despite having a week off due to the FA Cup, manager Steve Bruce still has a lengthy injury list to contend with.
But Bruce will be aware that had chances been taken in the first half of their last game at West Ham United, they could have come away with a positive result. This is a must-win clash, but to take three points Hull must improve on a home record which comprises only two wins all season.
Despite not winning in his spell as caretaker-boss, Carver has been given the chance to show his hand in the race to become Newcastle’s next permanent manager, after the club failed to identify the right candidate in their initial search.
It does at least end all the uncertainty around the club until the summer, and the Magpies are in a relatively comfortable position in the table, lying eight points above Hull. However, they are still lacking in the final third, as the defeat at home to Southampton last time out proved.
The hosts are still without Liam Rosenior and Robert Snodgrass, but strikers Abel Hernandez and Nikica Jelavic have returned to training ahead of schedule, and Robbie Brady returns after illness.
Newcastle are unable to call upon Siem De Jong, Paul Dummett and Ryan Taylor, while Cheick Tiote is still at the Africa Cup of Nations.
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