Premier League preview: Newcastle United v Stoke City
By Football News
Newcastle can move further away from the drop zone in the Premier League, when they host an out-of-form Stoke City on Sunday.
The Tyneside club picked up all three points last time out at home, when they got past fellow strugglers Southampton 4-2 before losing 1-0 when conceding late away to Swansea last start.
But it is their form at St James' Park that will please manager Alan Pardew the most - as they have won their past two there, including a win over Chelsea.
It hasn't been a fortress for Newcastle throughout the season, however, having lost six times there, so their recent form will come as some due relief for Pardew.
Despite the six outs, United have only failed to score twice in 14 matches at home this league term.
Newcastle sit six points above the bottom three in 15th spot with 10 matches remaining, and a victory over Stoke could virtually secure their Premier League status for next term.
Meanwhile, Tony Pulis' men have endured some poor performances of late - succumbing to three defeats in their past four, albeit all by a 1-0 scoreline.
Their past two defeats have seen them concede just prior to half-time - a trend Pulis will no doubt want his side to put an end to when they travel to England's north-east.
Stoke will also be looking to snap a scoring drought that has lasted 189 minutes, and Pulis may be able to call on the services of forgotten striker Michael Owen, who is on the comeback trail from a hip injury.
Winger Matthew Etherington (back) should also be available, while imposing defender Robert Huth remains suspended.
Newcastle will have several absentees from their first team, including goalkeeper Tim Krul (ankle), Fabricio Coloccini (back) and Ryan Taylor (knee).
Krul's back-up Steve Harper (knee) is also sidelined by injury, meaning Rob Elliot is likely to be in between the posts for Pardew's side once more having done so for the past two league matches.
In better news for Newcastle, midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is in line to return to the side from a hamstring injury.
Last time the two sides met at St James', Newcastle were 3-0 winners, with Yohan Cabaye scoring a brace, while Stoke won their previous clash this season 2-1, with two late goals at the Britannia Stadium.