Newcastle United are back in action at home to Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup this evening, with the Magpies likely hoping to keep their current relentless form going in what is the penultimate game before the World Cup break.
While tonight’s competition may not be the priority for the northeast side – with the club currently firmly in the mix to secure a Champions League berth – manager Eddie Howe is no doubt aware of the club’s ongoing barren run, having last secured silverware back in 1969.
A win over Patrick Vieira’s side would move the Tynesiders another step closer to realising that ambition, although it will prove a tough ask against a side who held the hosts to a goalless draw at St James’ Park earlier this season.
Although it remains to be seen if Howe will rotate his side for that upcoming meeting, one man who could well come back into the side is full-back Matt Targett, with the Englishman having recently lost his place in the starting XI as a result of the form of compatriot Dan Burn.
The latter man had seemingly bolstered his chances of an inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England squad with a string of fine showings in recent weeks, although the towering defender produced a far more shaky display in front of the Three Lions boss against Southampton last time out.
Despite the eventual 4-1 scoreline, it had not been plain sailing for the visitors at St Mary’s on the day, with Burn no doubt one notable villain having failed to prevent Romain Perraud from netting a consolation having been done far too easily by the Saints man after making a foolish, diving lunge.
It could well be an ideal chance to take the former Brighton and Hove Albion man out of the firing line and start the aforementioned Targett in his place, with the £100k-per-week gem having rarely let his side down since his initial loan move from Aston Villa back in January.
The 27-year-old is arguably a more natural fit at left-back than teammate Burn – who typically operates at centre-back – although is a player who has at times gone “under the radar“, in the words of James Wickham.
The former England U21 international has not started since the draw with Bournemouth back in early September, although tonight’s encounter with the Eagles could well be an opportune time for him to show his worth.