Newcastle should be well-rested ahead of their game with Norwich after leaving a bunch of regular starters out of their Europa League clash.
Manager Alan Pardew made seven changes from his starting line-up that drew 2-2 with Everton last week to the side he sent out against Portuguese club Maritimo on Thursday, a match that finished 0-0.
The likes of Papiss Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa were not even taken to Portugal as Pardew focuses on the English Premier League ahead of Europe’s second-tier continental competition, meaning Newcastle should be fresh for the visit of Norwich on Sunday.
Newcastle were a surprise-packet last season, eventually finishing fifth but they have not started well in their current league campaign and sit 11th on the table.
Pardew’s main concern has been in defence, where he has played four different quartets in seven games so far this season.
In the last three games, however, Pardew has found some stability in defence, naming the same backline of Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor in the middle, flanked by James Perch and Davide Santon, which led to just their second clean-sheet of the season against Maritimo.
That stability could be key against Norwich, who are the equal-worst scorers after four rounds of the EPL.
Chris Hughton’s side have hit the back of the net just twice in four games with last season’s top goal-scorer Grant Holt yet to get off the mark.
Hughton is still without Scottish pair Simon Lappin and Steven Whittaker, who both have ankle injuries, while Elliott Bennett (knee) will probably miss one more week despite the 23-year-old midfielder returning to training this week.
Pardew is expected to pick defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote, who has been out of Newcastle’s line-up since injuring his calf in the 2-1 win over Tottenham but Danny Simpson and Tim Krul are at least a week off playing.