Newcastle V Birmingham at St James' Park : Match Preview

17 January 2017 04:34
Newcastle V Birmingham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Jonjo Shelvey back after ban to boost Newcastle

Jonjo Shelvey will return to the Newcastle squad after a five-game ban as manager Rafael Benitez faces up to a selection crisis ahead of Wednesday night's FA Cup third-round replay against Birmingham.

Despite Shelvey's return, the Spaniard's options have been severely reduced by a triple injury blow during Saturday's 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory at Brentford which saw 20-goal striker Dwight Gayle (hamstring), Isaac Hayden (groin) and Vurnon Anita (ankle) join his casualty list.

Anita is likely to be sidelined for up to six weeks, although the news is better of Gayle and Hayden, who will join Jesus Gamez (collarbone), Massadio Haidara, Rolando Aarons and Aleksandar Mitrovic (all knee) on the sidelines, in the short term.

Benitez is also without African Nations Cup trio Chancel Mbemba, Christian Atsu and Mohamed Diame and the cup-tied Sammy Ameobi, Jamie Sterry and Haris Vuckic, although midfielder Cheick Tiote will be included as the club remains in talks with several interested parties over his signature.

City boss Gianfranco Zola has admitted he could rest players for the replay at St James' Park.

Defender Michael Morrison could sit out as he attempts to manage a persistent groin problem, while striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, who scored the equaliser in the first game, may be protected because of a relative lack of cover.

New signing Craig Gardner will definitely not be involved as he is ineligible having signed for the club after the match at St Andrew's.

Strikers Clayton Donaldson and Greg Stewart will also be unavailable as they continue to work their way back from knee and Achilles injuries respectively.

Source: PAR