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Preview: Newcastle vs Boro


Preview: Newcastle vs Boro

Newcastle get ready for the early afternoon kick off on Sunday against Middlesbrough, who could leapfrog their Tyne-Tees derby rivals with a win. Keegan, seeking his first win in four attempts since returning to St James' Park. Gareth Southgate will be looking to get one over his old England boss today and hopes his new signing Afonso Alves could make his debut.

Injuries and Suspensions

Mark Viduka could return, and Emre is also likely to make the squad after his suspension. Jeremie Aliadiere (groin) and Emanuel Pogatetz (ankle), while Turkey striker Tuncay Sanli (hamstring) is definitely out. Afonso Alves could make his debut.

Squads

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, N'Zogbia, Enrique, Cacapa, Taylor, Edgar, Butt, Smith, Milner, Duff, Emre, Barton, LuaLua, Owen, Viduka, Ameobi, Carroll.

Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Young, Pogatetz, Huth, Wheater, Arca, Rochemback, Boateng, O'Neil, Downing, Aliadiere, Alves, Mido, Jones, Grounds, Riggott, Johnson, Dong-Gook.

Keegan: it's a big game for us

"It's a big, big game for us. Our season has to start on Sunday. This team has not scored for four Premier League games and confidence is not where it should be. There are some tough fixtures coming up but we want to finish the season off well. We cannot let it peter out. We want to win games and show our fans that next season can be something special."

Keegan delighted by Emre return

"Emre is a very talented lad who can do great things on the ball," Keegan said. "I have always had that type of player in my teams and, if I've not inherited them, I've always gone out and bought one or two. I had Scott Sellars and Peter Beardsley here the first time, and Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic at Manchester City. The fact we already have Emre is a plus. Despite the fact some people think you cannot always accommodate a creative player, I have always managed to find space for one."

Eyefootball Premiership Predictor

Newcastle 1-0 Middlesbrough

These Tyne-Tees derbies always tend to be great games, but Boro have only won 4 in their last 23, which could prove difficult as Keegan is looking for his first victory at home in the league. This will most likely be it today.

Goalscorer: Michael Owen