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Newcastle: Howe must unleash Allan Saint-Maximin v Leicester

Newcastle United return to Premier League action away to Leicester City this afternoon, with Eddie Howe’s side looking to pick up where they left off prior to the recent World Cup break.

The Magpies had gone into the mid-season pause on a run of five wins from their past five top-flight games, having also lost just once in their 15 league outings to move themselves into third place and firmly in the conversation for a Champions League finish.

The fear will be that the Tynesiders may have had that rampant momentum halted by this recent break from competitive action. On the evidence of their midweek win over Bournemouth, though, there doesn’t appear to be any sign of rust, with the hosts having seemed in almost total control at St James’ Park on the night as they took 17 shots to the visitors’ six.

That triumph – which came courtesy of an Adam Smith own goal – has moved Newcastle into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, with things all going swimmingly for Howe and co at present.

As they look to continue that rich vein of form later today at the King Power Stadium, Newcastle could well enhance their chances of victory by bringing Allan Saint-Maximin back into the fold, with the fleet-footed Frenchman seemingly now back to full fitness after his injury woes earlier this season.

That has limited the 25-year-old to just four starts in the league this season, all of which came in August; although the £70k-per-week maestro has impressed whenever he has featured, scoring once and registering three assists thus far.

The dynamic “wizard” – as lauded by journalist Graeme Bailey – had looked “dangerous” off the bench against the Cherries, in the words of The Athletic’s Chris Waugh. Another reporter in Miles Starforth added that the 25-year-old was soon “causing problems” for Bournemouth after entering the fray in the second half.

The former Nice dynamo was also subsequently lauded by his manager, with Howe dubbing him a “massive player” for the club, adding: “I think you saw as soon as he entered the pitch against Bournemouth he’s got that ability to put the opponent on the back foot. For me, he is the best dribbler in the Premier League and you need that in your team. ”

As such, Saint-Maximin should be an ideal pick to return his left-wing berth in Newcastle’s attack, with his return potentially set to see Joelinton give way after the Brazilian disappointed in midweek.

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The former Hoffenheim man notably won just four of his 17 duels against Gary O’Neil’s men, having also offered little in attack as he failed to complete any of his four dribbles and provided zero crosses.

With the 26-year-old either set to make way or drop back into a central midfield role, it should well see Saint-Maximin unleashed on the flanks from the first whistle today.