Newcastle looking for 8th straight win against Cardiff

Rafa Benitez says his side are expecting a tough game against Cardiff City Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Rafael Benitez will make a late decision on whether to start striker Dwight Gayle, who is fit after recovering from a hamstring injury, against Cardiff City on Saturday.

The striker, who joined the Magpies from Crystal Palace in the summer, is their top scorer with 11 goals so far this season.

In his absence, striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has stepped up to the goal-scoring fold, bagging a brace against Preston North End in both the EFL Cup and the Championship match at Deepdale last weekend.

With both strikers in the goals this season, Newcastle fans have speculated whether both Gayle and Mitrovic will ever be paired up front for the Magpies this season and Manager Rafa Benitez has told ITV Tyne Tees it is a possibility.

I think so, I will not say when, but I think so, I agree with the fans that both are very good players, both can score goals and maybe, with both together on the pitch, the team could be stronger." "It's a maybe and at the moment we are doing well in the way that we are playing now. I am considering this option. We have already played part of some games with both." "I think it depends on how good the team can do it, how much can we improve to be sure that we can get the proper balance and at the same time scoring goals, being strong in defence."

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United Manager

Summer signing Matt Ritchie will miss the game as the midfielder serves a one-match suspension for picking up five yellow cards, while the Magpies injury picture looks to be improving.

Cardiff, this weekend's visitors to St James' Park, are unlikely to risk Rickie Lambert as the former England striker recovers from a nasty leg injury.

Lambert needed internal and external stitches after colliding with Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic two weeks ago, but the 34-year-old should return to action after the international break.

Newcastle are top of the Championship, three points clear of Brighton and Hove Albion in second, whilst Saturday's visitors Cardiff City are 21st and just one point above the relegation zone.

Rafa Benitez says his Newcastle United side are expecting a tough match against Cardiff City Credit: Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

We know that Cardiff City is a team that has changed a bit. We are expecting a tough game." "We've been working on different options so hopefully we can keep that level. The players are doing what they have to do."

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United Manager

After Saturday's game, the Magpies travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United, before a home match against Blackburn Rovers.