Newcastle United’s season has been plagued by injuries so far and when they host Luton Town in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, they could be without a recognised striker for the first time.
Alexander Isak had to be withdrawn during the 3-1 win against Aston Villa on Tuesday night thanks to a groin injury, and there is a very good chance that he will miss the game against Luton. At the same time, Callum Wilson has a calf issue and, while not fully ruled out, may only make the bench on Saturday.
That means that Eddie Howe is likely to use one of his usual wide players in a more central role, something that this newly confident Luton side will certainly look to take advantage of. It could be a very intriguing matchup at St James’ Park despite the teams operating in different parts of the table.
GK: Martin Dubravka – Continuing to deputise for the injured Nick Pope, Martin Dubravka has had an odd time at Newcastle considering how highly rated he became and the time he spent on loan at Manchester United. He seems to take anything in his stride.
RB: Kieran Trippier – Having weathered the storm of his poor performances either side of Christmas, Trippier remains one of Newcastle’s most important players.
CB: Fabian Schar – Scored twice against Aston Villa, so naturally, the funny joke of the day at St James Park pre-kick-off will be to say that Fabian Schar should start up front.
CB: Sven Botman – With no more European football to cause fixture congestion, Botman has the chance to form a strong partnership with Schar for the rest of the season, should he avoid another injury.
LB: Dan Burn – There are some physical players in this Luton team and Howe is expected to use Burn at left-back rather than Tino Livramento.
CM: Lewis Miley – He certainly earned his new contract and the youngster could be a part of this midfield for many years if he plays his cards right.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes – One of the players who will never be dropped by Howe, Guimaraes will continue to do what he does.
CM: Sean Longstaff – Another academy product in the midfield, Longstaff seems to be perpetually on the edge of leaving Newcastle, but he has a job to do now with all of the absentees.
RW: Jacob Murphy – With players like Joelinton and Harvey Barnes out, and a winger being needed in the middle, Murphy will hold his place…