Aston Villa caretaker boss makes Newcastle United prediction amid ‘frustrate them’ aim

The Magpies will hope to keep alive their unbeaten record on their own patch with a win against their struggling visitors this weekend.

Aston Villa caretaker manager Aaron Danks has revealed the main aim for his side as they look to disrupt Newcastle United’s impressive run of form this weekend.

Villa travel to St James Park on the back of a 4-0 win over Brentford as Danks took temporary charge of the side for the first time following the departure of former manager Steven Gerrard just days earlier. Two goals from Danny Ings and one apiece for Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins were enough to see off the Bees and give Villa a much-needed win.

Despite collecting all three points for the first time in a Premier League game since mid-September, Villa still remain just three points and three places about the relegation zone and a defeat against the in-form Magpies would send them closer to the drop zone as new manager Unai Emery prepares to take charge after the weekend.

By contrast, Newcastle are full of confidence, with last weekend’s impressive 2-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur extending their run to just one defeat in 12 league game and moving them into the Champions League places for the first time this season. Danks is under no illusions over how big a task his side face this weekend and admitted Villa will have to ‘adapt slightly’ if they are to gain a positive result.

Ahead of the trip to Tyneside, he said: “There are definitely some of the positives and principles from that performance (against Brentford) that we want to take forwards and keep going with: the group’s confidence and the energy.

“We’re also going away to Newcastle, who are a high-flying team. Eddie Howe’s done a fantastic job there in organising a group of players who play with a real spirit, a real togetherness.  We have to adapt slightly because we’re the underdogs. We’re really excited for the challenge.

“It will be a high-energy game of football from both teams. Both teams will compete well.  They’ve got a good side, a really well set up side. They’ve got some top players in there; they’ve got some athleticism in key positions and some really technically gifted footballers as well.  I’m hoping for a really entertaining game for the fans. I’m hoping we can frustrate them and stop them from doing what they want to do. I’m hoping we can express ourselves.”

Former Magpies transfer target Lucas Digne is expected to be available but the game will come too soon for another player linked with a move to Tyneside in the past as midfielder Boubacar Kamara continues his comeback from a knee ligament injury suffered last month.