Alan Pardew takes his men to Craven Cottage as Newcastle United face Fulham in a Monday night Premier League fixture. Martin Jol's side are 13th with 17 points from 15 games and the Magpies trail in 14th on an inferior goal difference.
Fulham have not won a game since the 1-0 win over Aston Villa in October. And Jol will be aware that the longer the Cottagers winless stretch (now at seven) extends, the harder it will be to avoid relegation. The last game ended in a poor 0-3 home defeat to Tottenham and Fulham have now lost three of the last four games played. Worse still, Fulham have now gone close to 300 minutes with scoring in the Premier League, which is surprising considering they rank eighth in the table in terms of goals scored (25).
Meanwhile, Pardew has something to cheer about before this game - Newcastle progressed to the knock-out stages of the UEFA Europa League, despite a midweek defeat at French side Bordeaux. The Magpies' domestic form, however, is starkly different to that in Europe and, importantly, from last season. Newcastle were superb in the 2011/12 campaign, after winning promotion from the Championship that season, finishing fifth.
So far this year, the St James' Park club have won only four of 15 games played, with only one win in the last six league games... and three in the last 10 across all competitions. They come into the game with a good league result behind them though. Newcastle hammered Wigan Athletic 3-0 at home last weekend, with Senegal forward Demba Ba scoring twice.
The Dutch manager has few injury concerns as Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz (hamstring) is and will be out of action this year while loanee from German side FC Koln Sascha Riether (knee) is also expected to sit out of the game. Former Welsh winger Simon Davies is long term absentee for the Cottagers and is expected to be missing most part of this season with a hip injury.
Fulham skipper Brede Hangeland is set to return to Jol's back four as he sat out for three matches after picking up a red card against Sunderland while midfielder Alexander Kacaniklic is also fit enough to start against Newcastle.
Fulham will be boosted by the return of captain Brede Hangeland. The central defender has finished serving a three match suspension for a red card against Sunderland and should slot straight back in, at the expense of former Arsenal man Philipe Senderos. Jol will also welcome Alex kacanikilic and Sascha Riether from injury but Bryan Ruiz (hamstring) will be unavailable for at least another month. Simon Davies (hip) is also out and will be missing till the New Year.
Probable Line-Up: Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Diarra, Kacaniklic; Petric, Berbatov
Pardew can now call on defender Davide Santon, midfielder Chieck Tiote and playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa but last week's Premier League hero, Demba Ba, may struggle to be fit; he strained his hamstring in the game against Wigan. Ryan Taylor (knee), Steven Taylor (hamstring) and Yohan Cabaye (groin) remain long-term absentees, while there is still no confirmed return set for Dan Gosling and Haris Vuckic (both knee).
Probable Line-Up: Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, Perch, Santon; Gutierrez, Tiote, Anita, Ben Arfa; Cisse, Ba