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    Preferred Newcastle team v Sheffield United

    The curtain call of the season is fast approaching and while Newcastle United are confirmed safe, I’m sure we’d all like to finish with a flourish.

    Sheffield United are a team we should 100% beat, although I did say that back in January…

    However, with Newcastle’s recent performances, we should be able to give a good showing this time around. Anything would be better than our last meeting in all honesty.

    With all that in mind, here’s my preferred Newcastle team v Sheffield United for Wednesday night:

    Goalkeeper: Dubravka

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    I know in my last XI prediction, a few commenters mentioned giving Darlow / Gillespie another start to show  appreciation, and try to keep him at the club in Darlow’s case.

    However, I’m sticking with our undisputed number one. I think if Darlow does want to leave, another start isn’t going to change his mind, and Gillespie knew he was coming in as a third choice anyway, so no need to upset the team.

    Centre-backs: Krafth, Fernandez and Dummett

    I’m going to say it…Krafth has actually had two quite good games for us.

    Keeping Leicester quiet (both goals came from the right of their attack), then scoring a very good header against Man City and was not really to blame for any of the goals they scored – an unfortunate deflection, one lucky rebound, a cross from the right, and a marvellous piece of inspiration. With that in mind, I’d like to give him another go at centre back and maybe have another decent performance.

    In fairness, if Schar was eligible and Lascelles fit, I’d start them with Dummett, so don’t be too hard on me. Fernandez and Dummett are solid enough for Sheffield United, so Clark will have to settle for the bench.

    Wing-backs: Murphy and Ritchie

    I expect the wing-backs in this game to be playing very high up the pitch and to essentially be auxiliary wingers in possession, making our standard choices perfect for this game.

    I expect many top class deliveries into the box and a lot of attacking coming down the flanks from these two. There’s assists aplenty if they’re willing to go out and create the chances.

    Midfield: Shelvey, Almiron, Willock

    I mean, might as well put Shelvey in since he’s a guaranteed starter regardless?

    In fairness the performances have improved somewhat (since Willock has brought the energy, so he doesn’t have to) but this should be a game he can run in midfield, providing he’s actually everything he’s hyped up to be. I’m not holding my breath on this one.

    Willock and Almiron I expect much of the same, high energy pressing and ball carrying, probably another goal for Willock.

    I do also expect one, or both, of the Longstaffs to get some decent game time as well, just to give them a chance to prove themselves a bit more.

    Attack: ASM and Joelinton

    Will this be the day big Joe finally scores in front of fans at home?

    Given his (comparatively) rich vein of goalscoring, this is probably the most likely one. Two yard tap-in incoming- but a goal’s a goal.

    ASM I expect to run the show and give a great performance to the fans, who I’m sure will be very vocal in actually seeing some decent skills by the home team at St James Park.

    Maybe I’m naive but I think given we’ve scored seven goals in the last two matches, I think this will be another high scorer…but of course a clean sheet against the league’s lowest scoring team will be too much of an ask for us.

    Predicted final score – Newcastle United 4 Sheffield United 1.

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