Is this the Newcastle United’s starting XI to face Watford - featuring TWO key changes?

Our writer Jordan Cronin has predicted the Newcastle United starting XI Eddie Howe will name to face Watford.

Some might say it’s too early to call Newcastle United versus Watford a Premier League relegation six-pointer - but that’s exactly what it is.

A glance at the league table tells you everything you need to know. Three points for the Magpies, and they exit the bottom three.

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Lose, and Claudio Ranieri's Hornets open up a five-point gap with a game in-hand at their disposal.

Eddie Howe is set to have new signings Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier to select from, but will he hand them starts at St James’ Park?

Here, our NUFC writer Jordan Cronin predicts Howe’s starting XI - featuring two changes from the shock FA Cup exit to Cambridge United.

Martin Dubraka

Picked up a toe injury during the defeat to Cambridge United but is expected to be fit to start against Watford.

Kieran Trippier

Trippier will get his second taste of St James’ Park having made his debut against Cambridge in the FA Cup.

Jamaal Lascelles (in for Emil Krafth)

Was absent from the matchday squad last time out, however, if available, United’s captain is likely to return.

Fabian Schar

Has started eight of the nine games Eddie Howe has taken charge of. The United boss likes that Schar is good on the ball.

Matt Ritchie

With Jamal Lewis still injured, and Javier Manquillo, Howe seemingly has no choice but to field Ritchie at left-back.

Jonjo Shelvey

A key player for Howe after describing Shelvey as an “unbelieavble technician”. His brilliance and not-so brilliance was summed up during that 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.

Sean Longstaff

Longstaff was highly praised for his performance against Manchester United. The less said about Cambridge, the better. But, we’re tipping Howe to stick by the player.

Joelinton

Newcastle United record signing Joelinton. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The Brazilian has been a revelation in central midfield, drawing light-hearted comparisons to Patrick Vieira

Ryan Fraser

A real favourite of Howe’s, following on from their Bournemouth days. His performance have picked up a lot since Howe’s arrival.

Allan Saint-Maximin

At the beginning of the week, Saint-Maximin was pencilled in to lead the line. Instead, he’s set to take up a position on the wing and link up with new man Chris Wood.

Chris Wood (in for Jacob Murphy)

With Callum Wilson out for another seven weeks, you can bet on Howe throwing his £25million signing straight into the starting XI.