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Preview: Newcastle United vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Newcastle United vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Newcastle United and Norwich City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Before they prepare to renew hostilities in the Premier League, Newcastle United lock horns with Norwich City in a friendly encounter on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Bruce's side suffered a 1-0 defeat to Burnley during their most recent exhibition match, while Norwich's 100% pre-season record continued with a 5-0 thrashing of Gillingham in front of a home crowd.

Match preview

Behind-closed-doors matches at Premier League stadiums are hopefully a thing of the past, but Newcastle and Burnley were the latest sides to do battle in such circumstances, and the Clarets did not need the Turf Moor faithful to get the better of the Magpies.

After a goalless 45 and an expected raft of changes for the second half, Burnley launched a swift attack in the 70th minute, which culminated in Erik Pieters feeding Jay Rodriguez to coolly slot home past Mark Gillespie, and Newcastle had no answer to the Englishman's effort.

A three-game unbeaten run in pre-season has now come to an end - and the Magpies also began their summer period with a 1-0 defeat at York City - but Bruce's men can take confidence from victories over Doncaster Rovers and Burton Albion before their long-awaited return to St James' Park.

While the St James' Park faithful will undoubtedly want to see their side produce the goods on the pitch, transfer activity off the field is where the concerns may currently reside, especially with the acquisitions of three academy prospects representing Newcastle's only incomings thus far.

Even though a cluster of coronavirus cases threatened to derail Norwich's preparations - with fixtures against Coventry City and Sheffield United having to be cancelled - Daniel Farke's side returned to action with a five-star performance against Gillingham on Tuesday.

Adam Idah found the back of the net twice while Jacob Sorensen, Lukas Rupp and new signing Pierre Lees-Melou also struck in a routine success for the Canaries, who are now four for four during a confidence-boosting pre-season period.

Victories over King's Lynn Town, Lincoln City and Huddersfield Town preceded Norwich's 5-0 thrashing of Gillingham, and Farke's side have navigated their pre-season endeavours scoring 11 goals and conceding just one ahead of their final exhibition match at St James' Park.

A 10,000-strong Carrow Road crowd witnessed their side ease to a convincing win in midweek, and the Canaries overcame Newcastle 3-1 thanks to Teemu Pukki's hat-trick as recently as August 2019, but the most recent encounter at St James' Park in February 2020 ended goalless.

Newcastle United Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Norwich City Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Newcastle's infirmary is showing no signs of depleting anytime soon, but Bruce was at least able to offer a positive update on Miguel Almiron, who is now back in training and could play a part here.

Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow's absences continue to restrict Bruce's options in goal, while Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin may be in with a chance of featuring, but no risks will be taken with the attacking duo ahead of their Premier League opener with West Ham United.

Jonjo Shelvey made his comeback appearance against Burnley in midweek, but Paul Dummett's calf injury will likely keep him out of action for another couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Norwich boss Farke confirmed that seven players were absent from the Gillingham friendly due to coronavirus, with star striker Pukki and captain Grant Hanley among the notable absentees.

Sorensen's goal on the night came after his spell of self-isolation came to an end, while Angus Gunn also returned from quarantine to take over from Tim Krul for the second 45 minutes.

Former Werder Bremen attacker Milot Rashica was nowhere to be seen against Gillingham, but Kenny McLean managed to play half an hour as he steps up his recovery from a knee injury.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Krafth, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Hayden, Shelvey, S. Longstaff; Fraser, Joelinton

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Gibson, Giannoulis; Rupp, Gilmour, Lees-Melou; Dowell, Idah, Cantwell

We say: Newcastle United 1-1 Norwich City

Norwich pushed their coronavirus troubles aside to make a statement of intent against Gillingham, but a Newcastle squad - albeit with their own selection concerns - presents a much sterner test.

The Canaries boast some exciting young talent in their ranks and have momentum on their side from their pre-season results, but we still expect Bruce's men to claim a draw before the Premier League season kicks off.

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