Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Barnsley that I think Rafa Benitez will rely on this lunchtime.

When naming his team that played against Cardiff a week past Friday, the United boss indicated that he had made a number of changes to look after players, protecting them from tiredness/injury and potentially trying to make sure they can play in this final game of the season in front of a sold out St James Park.

This was the team and subs Rafa selected v Cardiff nine days ago:

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Mbemba, Clark, Dummett, Perez (Sterry 90), Colback (Shelvey 73), Hayden, Atsu, Diame, Murphy (Mitrovic 66)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Lazaar, Haidara, Gouffran

Two players who definitely won’t be returning to the team today are the suspended Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles, who has just had an operation on a longstanding groin problem.

However, I think Jonjo Shelvey must be a certainty to return for this final game after his rest in that last match – Hayden the strong choice to be preferred to Jack Colback.

In Matt Ritchie’s absence, Gouffran and Atsu look almost certain to play, whilst Ayoze Perez is just about the most popular choice at home ahead of Mohamed Diame. Though at Cardiff, Rafa did play both of them.

Daryl Murphy got a game in Wales but Mitrovic should get his chance in this potential title decider. Dwight Gayle is back in training but Rafa has said he won’t take any risks in this 46th game of the season, so at the most we may see him have a late cameo off the bench.

With doubts over Grant Hanley and Vurnon Anita as well, the defence pretty much picks itself, giving Clark and Mbemba a chance to build on the decent rare chance to play together in that 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Rafa Benitez has given a returning from injury Rob Elliot a couple of games and whilst Karl Darlow had made the odd mistake, hopefully he will get the chance to play today after being a mainstay of the promotion side this season.

My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Barnsley:

newcastle team v barnsley

To create the image above, Dale 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 Barnsley.

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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