Newcastle United host Leicester City at St James’ Park this afternoon as they return to action in the Premier League, with Eddie Howe surely hoping he can lead his team further up the league standings with yet another three points.
The Foxes have only lost one of their last five league games, with Brendan Rodgers’ side currently battling for a top-half finish.
However, the Magpies recently returned to form following three consecutive losses when they beat Wolves last weekend, so the clash will likely be a close-run encounter.
Despite taking all three points from their last outings, Newcastle suffered a loss when Ryan Fraser was taken off the pitch after a hamstring injury complaint that has left Howe doubtful about his availability for selection for today’s game.
Howe confirmed his uncertainty concerning Fraser’s fitness during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, stating:
“I don’t think it’s too bad. But it was enough to bring him off, we had a scan and it showed a very small problem. So hopefully it won’t be too long for him and we will have to see whether he makes this game.”
With that being said, the Scotland international’s injury could be the perfect opportunity for the Magpies manager to give the £74k-per-week Miguel Almiron a shot in the starting XI, something that could well pay off when you consider the attacker’s form this season.
The £14.4m-rated forward who was hailed “all-action” by Don Goodman has been incredibly effective since being moved into a more attacking role for the team, creating one big chance for his teammates over his 23 Premier League appearances this season, as well as making an average 0.6 key passes and taking 0.9 shots per game.
With the addition of this attacking threat, the 28-year-old and his fellow forwards could terrify Brendan Rodgers’ outfit, causing all sorts of problems for their defence throughout the game.
And, if Howe can secure a victory in front of the St James’ Park faithful this afternoon, Newcastle could leap-frog Aston Villa into 14th – something that would see them pull 13 points clear of the relegation zone.