Santon rested, but Newcastle name strong squad for Kharkiv

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

DAVIDE Santon is the only high-profile absentee from the Newcastle United squad that flew out of Tyneside this afternoon ahead of tomorrow's Europa League last-32 decider with Metalist Kharkiv.

Magpies manager Alan Pardew has stuck to his pledge to name a strong side in the Metalist Stadium after last week's first leg on Tyneside ended in a goalless draw.

Santon has been rested after starting all of Newcastle's Premier League matches this season, and as expected there is also no place for Hatem Ben Arfa, who only returned to training at the start of this week following a hamstring injury.

In Santon's absence, January signing Massadio Haidara could be drafted in for his first appearance in a Newcastle shirt. Alternatively, two of James Perch, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and James Perch could fill the full-back berths.

Dan Gosling makes his first appearance in a senior squad since the start of October after recovering from a serious ankle problem.

Newcastle squad: Shola Ameobi, Anita, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Cisse, Coloccini, Elliot (gk), Gosling, Gutierrez, Haidara, Krul (gk), Marveaux, Obertan, Perch, Simpson, Sissoko, S Taylor, Tiote, Yanga-Mbiwa.

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