NEWCASTLE UNITED host Norwich City this evening in a game that is likely to have serious repercussions in terms of their hopes of avoiding the drop – and Eddie Howe will have to make at least two changes to his starting side.

Defensive duo Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie are both suspended after picking up their fifth bookings of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

The pair will serve a one-match ban this evening, meaning Howe will have to reorganise the five-man defence he has fielded since taking over on Tyneside earlier this month.

With Fabian Schar and Emil Krafth expected to fill two of Newcastle’s three centre-half slots, Lascelles will be replaced by either Ciaran Clark or Federico Fernandez.

There is an argument that the latter is the Magpies’ most reliable defender, but his absence from the matchday squad for the last two matches means Clark is the likelier starter tonight, presumably with Fernandez returning to the substitutes’ bench.

The Northern Echo:

There are a number of potential replacements for Ritchie at left wing-back, with Jamal Lewis, Javier Manquillo and Jacob Murphy all in the frame.

Given that he is a natural left-footer, and his previous time with Norwich means he might well have a point to prove if he gets the nod tonight, Lewis looks set to start.

The Magpies were hardly free-flowing as they lost at the Emirates at the weekend, but it would still be a surprise if Howe opted to make changes in his midfield or attack.

Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock look to have established themselves as Howe’s first-choice central-midfield pairing, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton did well alongside Callum Wilson as Newcastle drew 3-3 with Brentford in their last home game.

Assuming the trio retain their spots tonight, that will mean Miguel Almiron remaining on the bench, probably alongside a fit-again Dwight Gayle.

Predicted Newcastle line-up (3-4-3):

Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Clark; Fraser, Shelvey, Willock, Lewis; Joelinton, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.