Newcastle v Everton preview: Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka fully fit
Last Updated: 13/12/17 6:39pm
Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka are fully fit and back in contention for Everton's Premier League trip to Newcastle on Wednesday.
Jagielka played the last seven minutes of Sunday's Merseyside derby after a three-match absence, while fellow centre-back Keane has managed just one 10-minute substitute appearance during that time and did not get off the bench at Anfield.
However, the duo are back to full fitness and could be recalled by boss Sam Allardyce as he faces one of his former teams, with Everton having won on three of their last four league visits to St James' Park (L1).
The Magpies are in a poor run of form at the moment, winning just a single point in their last seven Premier League matches (D1 L6), but manager Rafa Benitez has never lost a home league game against Everton, winning five and drawing two.
"The way that you lose can always affect players, obviously, but the main thing is that we lost," Benitez said of Newcastle's recent run, the latest reverse a 3-2 home defeat to Leicester at the weekend.
"We were talking about lack of experience sometimes, but it is something that we have to improve very quickly. If everything is fine, we can keep this intensity and hopefully create more chances and score more goals, and then we don't have to complain if we concede a late goal.
"We have to have the confidence that we had before - it is easy to say, it is very difficult to do it if you don't win. We know the only way is to keep working and keep working harder."
Alongside the potential returns of Keane and Jagielka, winger Yannick Bolasie played half an hour for Everton U23s on Monday as he steps up his comeback from a year out with a knee injury, although he is not ready for first-team action yet.
Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns. Paul Dummett is his only senior absentee as the left-back works his way back from a hamstring problem which has sidelined him since the opening day of the season.
Dummett played an hour for the club's U23s on Friday and while he is close to a return, the game will also come too soon for him.
Newcastle have lost six of their last seven league games against Everton (W1), including each of the last three in a row. They've not lost four consecutively against them since a run of five in January 1920.
Benitez has lost his last three Premier League home games as a manager - the first time that he's ever suffered a run this long at home in the competition.
Sam Allardyce has won three of his 11 Premier League games at St James' Park as visiting manager, with each win coming in charge of a different club (Bolton October 2006, Blackburn November 2010 and West Ham November 2012).
Wayne Rooney has scored 14 Premier League goals against Newcastle United - against no opponent has he scored more goals in the competition (also 14 versus West Ham).
In fact, Rooney has been involved in 22 goals in his 22 Premier League appearances against Newcastle (14 goals, 8 assists) - more than versus any other opponents in the competition.
Rooney has scored six goals and assisted one more in his last seven Premier League appearances for Everton - this after receiving more yellow cards (3) than goals and assists (2) in his first seven league apps this season for the club.
In his six Premier League appearances for Everton since the start of November, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored two goals, assisted two goals and won two penalties for his side in 427 minutes on the pitch.
Newcastle are in a bad way, losing six out of the last seven. This will be a draw, and I expect Everton to sit back a bit. Newcastle really have to go for it, but they will leave themselves open at the back like they did against Leicester, but Everton are nowhere near as good on the counter as Leicester. I cannot separate these two.
Paul predicts: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)
Newcastle are Sky Bet's 7/5 favourites for the victory with Everton priced at 2/1 while the draw is a 9/4 chance. Dwight Gayle heads a wide open first goalscorer market at 5/1 while Wayne Rooney is enhanced from 11/2 to 13/2 to net first in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.
There's another £250,00 up for grabs in Wednesday night's Super 6 after the jackpot was landed in last Tuesday's round. Enter your predictions for free here.