Newcastle v West Brom preview: Defensive injury crisis for Steve McClaren
Last Updated: 06/02/16 3:41pm
Steve McClaren is facing a defensive injury crisis as Newcastle prepare to host West Brom on Saturday.
Chancel Mbemba will be sent for a second scan in Belgium next week and could be out for more than a month after picking up an ankle injury in Wednesday's 3-0 defeat to Everton.
Paul Dummett (hamstring) is also out after being injured in the same game, while Jamaal Lascelles is suspended after being sent off late on.
Newcastle start Saturday's game in the relegation zone, eight points behind Saturday's opponents.
Newcastle boss McClaren has drafted three under-21 players - Callum Williams, Liam Gibson and Dan Barlaser - into his squad and says one of the youngsters may have to start at left-back to cover his injury problems.
Steven Taylor will also start in defence, despite only playing two games in 13 months.
Midfielder Jack Colback - a candidate to fill in at left-back, is also out with a hamstring problem, while Deadline Day signing Seydou Doumbia will be in the squad but is not in contention to start. Midfielder Cheick Tiote is available after his proposed move to Shanghai Shenhua fell through.
West Brom have also been dealt a blow ahead of the game with the loss of Jonny Evans to injury.
Evans limped off against Swansea on Tuesday night with a hamstring problem and the defender will be out for at least a couple of weeks.
The Northern Ireland international joins compatriot Chris Brunt (calf), James Morrison (hamstring) and Callum McManaman (ankle) on the sidelines.
Saido Berahino will be in the squad against the club who had a bid for him rejected before the transfer deadline, although boss Tony Pulis says the striker is unlikely to start as he continues to build up his fitness.
West Brom have won none of their last six Premier League away trips (W0 D3 L3).
Victor Anichebe has netted five Premier League goals against Newcastle, more than against any other team in the competition.
West Bromwich Albion have scored 39% of their goals from headers this season, a Premier League-high.
The average age of West Brom's starting XI in the Premier League this season has been 29 years, 247 days old; the oldest average of all PL teams in 2015-16.
The Baggies have scored 42 goals in 42 Premier League matches under Tony Pulis.
Newcastle have gone nine Premier League games without a clean sheet (9), only North East rivals Sunderland are on a longer wait for a shutout than them in the top-flight (10 games).
This has the makings of a good game. West Brom under Pulis rarely lose to sides at the bottom and they play well away from home. Saying that, I've got to go for Newcastle to get the win. They're at home, they've got all their new signings and they need to bounce back from their defeat at Everton. It's a must-win game for Newcastle, they'll be thinking they haven't got too many of these sort of games remaining.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1
Newcastle are even-money with Sky Bet ahead of the visit of 11/4 shots West Brom with the draw trading at 12/5. Despite slipping to another defeat in midweek the Magpies remain odds-on shots to avoid the drop with West Brom unlikely 15/2 shots to go down. This fixture finished all square last season and another 1-1 draw is 9/2. Prior to that the Toon had won the two previous meetings at St James' Park 2-1 and can be backed at 11/4 to win by exactly one goal. Georginio Wijnaldum is deemed a 2/1 shot to score anytime for the hosts with Newcastle transfer target Saido Berahino is 8/1 to net the opener and 5/2 to score anytime. Check out tips from our Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp, Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier here.