Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Leeds that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for Friday night at St James Park.

The Manager having given an injury update earlier today.

Rafa Benitez Leeds press conference today (Thursday 13 April):

“It is good news for our team, and for our fans, that we have just Clark and Dwight not training – doing their rehabilitation instead.

“Clark is very, very close, and we will have to see how Dwight improves.

“With the others, we have to decide whether they can play or not.”

This means that players such as Hayden, Colback, Yedlin and Hanley, who were all missing from the squad at Sheffield Wednesday, could all potentially be involved.

I think two of those four could be in line for a recall.

If Isaac Hayden is fully fit again then it would seem an obvious choice to pair him with Jonjo Shelvey once again.

Mohamed Diame had a terrible game once again at Hillsborough, whilst even if Jack Colback is passed fit, Hayden is badly needed to give Newcastle mobility in the middle of the pitch as well as providing defensive cover.

On the subject of pace/mobility, DeAndre Yedlin has been a massive miss, especially in giving United an extra dimension when attacking. As well as being able to get back and defend, Yedlin can help Newcastle to get on the front foot once again, if replacing Vurnon Anita.

The rest of the defence looks to take care of itself, with Darlow and Dummett looking to have little competition. Likewise, whilst neither Lascelles or Mbemba were very good against Sheffield Wednesday, Hanley can’t be paired with Lascelles due to being very similar and lacking a turn of speed, though we are desperate for Ciaran Clark to get back regardless.

Up front, with Dwight Gayle confirmed as missing, it looks a straight choice between Mitrovic and Murphy.

I think Mitro might be given his chance, playing well and scoring in the recent Serbian match, then looking sharp when coming on late as a sub last Saturday.

In this usual 4-2-3-1 formation below, Matt Ritchie is an automatic choice.

However, the other two choices are a lottery. With none of them really convincing, I fancy Rafa to go for Yoan Gouffran and Mohamed Diame this time, in preference to Christian Atsu and Ayoze Perez.

My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Leeds:

newcastle team v leeds

To create the image above, Ryan used the NUFC team selector.

You can do the same by following the simple instructions HERE and then there are a number of great options where you can then also share your team via Twitter (include @nufcthemag in your tweet and we will share some of them with our 20k+ followers) , or you can share the selector on Facebook with friends, family and the rest of the black and white world. Alternatively, simply downloading the team image to the device you are using

When using the NUFC team selector you simply click on what team formation (4-3-3, 4-4-2 etc) you want, then click each position on the pitch and choose from the Newcastle United squad.

Go to the NUFC team selector now and choose and share your Newcastle team v Leeds.

Before every match, simply go to the menu at the top of this screen and click features, then on the drop down list click NUFC Team Selector and choose your team for every match.

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