(live @ Sky Sport Extra/Calcio 10)
St. James' Park
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle will aim to maintain their 100 per cent home record in 2012 against Aston Villa. The Magpies started the year with successive victories over Manchester United and QPR at St James’ Park, and victory at Blackburn last time out moved them up to fifth in the table. Newcastle thumped Villa 6-0 in the corresponding fixture last season. Andy Carroll bagged a hat-trick while Kevin Nolan (2) and Joey Barton were also on target. Aston Villa prolonged their winless run at Villa Park to six games despite recovering from two goals down to salvage a point against QPR. Alex McLeish's side will be desperate to record their first victory at Newcastle since 2005. That 3-0 win at St James’ Park was overshadowed by the dismissals of Newcastle duo Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer for fighting each other. Villa have not scored at Newcastle since 2007, failing to find the net on their last three trips to the north east.
• Newcastle are yet to win after conceding the opening goal this season (D3, L4).
• Aston Villa have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team in the top flight (11).
Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cissé are available after returning from international duty at the African Cup of Nations and training on Friday, with Ba most likely to slot straight back into the Newcastle attack at the expense of Shola Ameobi. Cheik Tiote is still in Africa however and Yohan Cabaye serves the second of a three-match ban, with Ryan Taylor set to continue in midfield alongside Danny Guthrie.
Alex McLeish has revealed that Gabriel Agbonlahor is touch-and-go ahead of the clash. Agbonlahor is to undergo a special fitness programme with the club’s conditioning coach, Adrian Lamb, to try and eradicate such problems after missing the midweek home draw with QPR. James Collins and Marc Albrighton have been ruled out with calf and thigh injuries respectively, while Chris Herd continues to recover from an ankle injury.
Possible starting XIs:
T Krul • D Simpson, M Williamson, F Coloccini, D Santon • R Taylor, D Guthrie • H Ben Arfa, J Gutiérrez, L Best • D Ba
S Given • A Hutton, C Cuellar, R Dunne, S Warnock • C Clark, S Petrov • S Ireland, R Keane, C N'Zogbia • D Bent