Newcastle United will be looking to maintain a rich vein of form as they welcome West Bromwich Albion to St James' Park on Saturday afternoon.
Alan Pardew's side have won three games on the bounce, including terrific victories over Chelsea and Tottenham before the recent international break, to boost confidence going into a packed December schedule. The Magpies (6-2-4) have leapt up the table thanks to those nine points, and Pardew is setting his sights high - sparked in part by midfielder Yohan Cabaye reaffirming his desire to play in the Champions League.
"Yohan wants to play in the Champions League and who wouldn't," said Pardew. "I want that. Ask me that question. Yes I do, and we want to build to that here.
"We need players like Cabaye to get us there. For him to express that ambition is no problem."
Saturday's visitors West Brom (3-6-3) have lost just one of their last nine matches, but have also won just three in that run, leaving them not yet clear of danger nor out of the running for the European places.
The Baggies let a two-goal lead slip against local rivals Aston Villa in their last outing, with midfielder Stephane Sessegnon missing big chances to win the match, and the former Sunderland player is looking forward to making amends on his return to the northeast.
"Newcastle are a good team and are playing well but we have a chance to win this game because we are also playing well," said Sessegnon. "I've got happy memories from my last visit to St James' Park because I scored and we (Sunderland) won a derby game.
"It's a great stadium and a good atmosphere at St James' Park. In my first game there I got sent-off but my second visit there made up for that. I've never lost there and I hope I can continue that run this weekend. I can handle the fans, I'll just concentration on my football - it's no problem for me."
Newcastle United have injury doubts over Paul Dummett (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (hamstring), but Ryan Taylor (knee) remains out. West Brom are missing Ben Foster (ankle), Grant Thorne (knee) and Zoltan Gera (hamstring), but may be able to call upon Liam Ridgewell (calf) and Scott Sinclair (hamstring).
Pardew's side have lost just once in their last six league games, conceding just a single goal in their last three matches and finding the back of the net in each of their last 10.
Nineteen of Newcastle's last 20 league goals have been scored by French players, while Loic Remy has eight goals in his last eight games.
Baggies striker Shane Long has hit three in his last two league games, but had failed to score in his previous 10 top-flight appearances.
The Magpies have won just two of their last nine meetings with West Brom in all competitions, but took four points off Steve Clarke's side last season and have won five of the seven meetings between the clubs at St James' Park since the start of the Premier League.
- Sports & Recreation
- Newcastle United
- West Bromwich Albion
- Yohan Cabaye
- Alan Pardew