Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v Fulham
Newcastle United will look to respond from a slow start to the Premier League season when they host Fulham on Saturday.
Alan Pardew's men have struggled this term, following up a 4-0 loss at Manchester City with an uninspiring goalless draw against West Ham last week.
The Newcastle boss will hope the side's 2-0 League Cup win over Morecambe on Wednesday has boosted spirits ahead of what looms a crucial encounter.
Pardew has publicly admitted he is still searching for another forward to help his misfiring strikeforce.
Newcastle have scored in just two of their last eight Premier League fixtures and have conceded 16 goals in the process.
A move for former Newcastle striker Demba Ba – now at Chelsea – has been mooted, while the club appear to have revived their interest in Lyon forward Bafetimbi Gomis.
French star Yohan Cabaye has not played for Newcastle this season, with Arsenal reportedly trying to sign the 27-year-old midfielder.
But with a move still in doubt, Pardew has insisted that Cabaye will feature on Saturday.
Newcastle's last Premier League win at home came in April, against Fulham, with Cabaye playing a crucial role.
Cabaye provided the assist for Papiss Cisse's stoppage-time winner in that fixture and Pardew will be hopeful he can provide a similar contribution on Saturday.
Newcastle have a lengthy injury list but will be hopeful of including loan signing Loic Remy as he recovers from a calf injury.
But midfielders Cheick Tiote (groin) and Jonas Gutierrez (hamstring) as well as utility man Ryan Taylor (knee) will miss out, while defender Steven Taylor is suspended.
Fulham will enter the match on the back of a nervy League Cup success against fourth-tier outfit Burton Albion.
Hugo Rodallega's goal with four minutes left of extra time forced penalties, with Fulham edging the shootout 5-4 after scores were locked at 2-2.
Martin Jol's men opened their season with a gutsy 1-0 win at Sunderland but struggled defensively against Arsenal last Saturday, slumping to a 3-1 home defeat.
How manager Jol keeps the likes of attackers Adel Taarabt, Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent and Bryan Ruiz in the same team, and happy, will be crucial to their hopes this season, but Fulham looked to be blessed with plenty of firepower.
Bent – who signed on loan from Aston Villa – made his Fulham debut last weekend and marked it with a late strike.
Fulham are sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (shoulder), but Saturday's match will come too soon for utility player Kieran Richardson (hamstring) and defender Fernando Amorebieta (knock).
The last five meetings between the two sides have been won by the home team and Pardew will have his fingers crossed that the recent record continues.