Struggling Newcastle host top-four chasing Tottenham on Sky Sports on Super Sunday approaching a vital period in the Premier League season.
Newcastle are 17th with nine games remaining, just two points above 18th-place Fulham but with a game in hand, while Spurs sit sixth, three points off the top four.
Both clubs have struggled of late - Newcastle are without a win in six Premier League games, and though Tottenham did return to winning ways against Aston Villa before the international break, that came off the back of a north London derby defeat by Arsenal and a Europa League exit against Dinamo Zagreb.
Peter Smith was joined by SkySports.com's feature writer Adam Bate on the latest Pitch to Post Preview show to discuss the key talking points for the fixture.
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A welcome break for Toon?
Newcastle will have had nearly two weeks to mentally recover from the 3-0 defeat by Brighton before the international break, but Bate doesn't necessarily see the thinking time as a positive.
"I think with some teams the break can clear heads and give them thinking time, but I'm not convinced that's the case with Newcastle. Looking through the season they've had time to reflect before.
"They had over a week before the Brighton game, over a week before the West Brom game, nine before the Sheffield United defeat. It doesn't seem to have cleared their head before.
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"Steve Bruce has given them plenty of time off, conscious of fatigue, but the thinking time almost gives them more time to stew on defeats, and we haven't seen a response recently.
"We're just waiting for the immediacy of the problem to hit home to everyone, and see that reaction from Newcastle, because they're running out of time.
"From Fulham's perspective, they just need to be within three points of Newcastle come the last day of the season. You'd almost make Fulham favourites to stay up in that scenario."
Are injuries the issue?
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has been keen to point out that his side have suffered from critical injuries to key players.
Allan Saint-Maximin missed nine Premier League games earlier this season with a calf injury, and has missed the last three with a groin strain, while Callum Wilson has been out for the previous six games with a hamstring problem.
Newcastle have also had to deal with illness following a Covid outbreak earlier this season, but Bate says their current situation goes deeper than their selection problems.
"I don't think we should pretend that it was good when Callum Wilson was available, but he just gave them enough firepower to get them out of real trouble.
"They've won seven matches in the league this season, and Wilson scored eight goals in those games, and he has effectively scored the winner in five of those seven games, and they've not won without him.
"Obviously being without him has been a huge blow - they had 25 points after 23 games when he got injured, 10 clear of Fulham, so it wasn't great, but it certainly wasn't disastrous. But you lose him, and you lose a few others. Six games later and they've only gained three points."
Asked if Newcastle can put their poor form solely down to injuries, Bate said: "I don't think Newcastle fans will see it that way, and I don't think it's enough of an excuse for the lack of ambition we've seen from them on the pitch against opponents who have had problems of their own.
"But you do have to be balanced about it - if you lose Wilson, Saint-Maximin, Almiron - it's easy to see where Newcastle could have had three, five points more if they'd kept those key players fit.
"They lose these players in winnable games, that's the problem. They are coming back for games that are not-so winnable, even with them in the team.
"It's very difficult now, even with everyone fit, to think they will be looking safe going into those final few games, so it's on a knife-edge."
'Spurs in the mix for top four'
Tottenham, who failed to qualify for the Champions League last season, begin a crucial period as Jose Mourinho looks to end the season with some success.
"When you look at the three points to Chelsea, you're tempted to think that's within reach, but when you look at it another way, you're giving up a three-point head start to a team that have been superior team, a team that has been better than them all year," Bate said.
"There is that distraction of Europe which can shave a few points off Chelsea perhaps. It's very tight from fourth to eighth in the table, and Spurs are right in the mix."
'Jose's comments worrying for Spurs fans'
Mourinho recently spoke of the present generation of players needing to be more responsible, suggesting it is more difficult nowadays to create a "Band of Brothers" team environment than when he was managing Chelsea or Inter Milan, with more individuality in players now.
"I think that would worry me if I was a Tottenham supporter," said Bate. "The issue for Mourinho is that you can't frame that as anyone's problem but his own. That Inter team of a decade ago, it's long gone, it's not coming back. It's pretty clear that the game and society moves on, and the way you connect changes. It's now on Mourinho to find a way to build those positive relationships with this group of players, the way the best coaches in the world are able to do.
"If he can't do that, nobody is going to take the trophies away from him that he has won, but there are plenty of decorated managers like Mourinho out there that are no longer coaching at the highest level.
"It might be right, it might reflect badly on this Spurs squad, and the fans might buy it, but the dressing room that he is criticising is the same one he's going to have to convince to turn it around for him. So I'm not sure how much mileage there is in constantly talking about the modern player."
'Kane is irreplaceable'
With mounting speculation over the future of Spurs striker Harry Kane, Bate feels the club will struggle to replace the 27-year-old, and that his future will dictate Spurs' success over the coming years.
"I think that is an issue that is not going away, because he is irreplaceable for the team. It's not possible for Spurs to acquire a player even close to his level, so what happens with Kane will dictate what happens to Tottenham in the next couple of years, I suspect.
"Mourinho is in the position where he needs people who want to go on the journey with him, and if they don't want to go on that journey, then there will be no journey for Jose and Spurs. I don't think that's idle speculation from us, Mourinho and Hugo Lloris have spelled that out for everyone in Zagreb.
"Maybe they've turned the corner, but Jose is going to need everyone with him.
"This is a big game for both teams. Both fans want to see more from their team. Spurs have the quality to beat Newcastle, it's just about getting the mentality right."