NEWCASTLE UNITED skipper Fabricio Coloccini has returned to the starting line-up for tonight's trip to Stoke City.

In the absence of the injured Steven Taylor, ruled out until the new year with a hamstring problem, the appearance of Coloccini is a welcome boost as the Magpies look to avoid a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.

There is also a place for James Perch at the heart of the midfield alongside Cheik Tiote, with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew keen to make his injury-hit team more difficult to beat once more.

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STOKE CITY (4-4-2): Begovic; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam, Etherington; Crouch. Subs: Sorensen (gk), Palacios, Jones, Whitehead, Upson, Kightly, Jerome.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Anita, Perch, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse. Subs: Elliott, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Sa Ameobi, Ranger, Ferguson, Tavernier.