Rafa Benitez has once again named Jamaal Lascelles as his Captain against Sporting Lokeren today.

A strong indication that he won’t be simply handing the armband around to various players then deciding…

One contender appears to be Grant Hanley but he is named neither in the team or on the bench, suggesting he maybe really was injured at Blackburn when missing the friendlies in recent weeks.

Another point of interest is that Matz Sels looks early favourite for the keeper’s jersey, starting all three friendlies including today’s, with Karl Darlow only getting the second half at Bohemians so far.

Also, Cheick Tiote has failed to start any of the three matches, getting only 16 minutes against Bohemians and the only outfield player to remain on the bench at Doncaster. Now in the final year of his contract, the Ivory Coast midfielder must surely be on his way before this transfer window closes.

No sign of Matt Ritchie in the squad today as well.

Sporting Lokeren v Newcastle United

Newcastle starting 11:

Sels, Janmaat, Mbemba, Lascelles (c), Sterry, Hayden, Anita, Colback, Aarons, Perez, Gayle


Darlow, Dummett, Gamez, Tiote, Saivet, Gouffran, Shelvey, Thauvin, Armstrong, Mitrovic