Midfielder returns as Newcastle United travel to Wigan: Attacking 4-4-1-1 predicted

Newcastle's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their third goal

Newcastle United visit Wigan Athletic's DW Stadium for a mid-week Championship encounter. We take a look at the potential line-ups.

Newcastle United could welcome the returning Jack Colback into their line-up, after the midfielder missed the previous three league games through injury. 

Jack Colback of Newcastle United

Defender Massadio Haidara and forward Daryl Murphy remain sidelined for the Championship leaders, with knee and calf injuries respectively.

Newcastle United's Karl Darlow celebrates

Like Colback, goalkeeper Rob Elliot is also back in contention for Rafael Benitez's Magpies, but the form of Karl Darlow is likely to see Elliot take a seat on the bench. 

Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles looks dejected after hes scored an own goal for Nottingham Forest's second goal

In front of Darlow, Newcastle's anticipated back four of left back Paul Dummett, a defensive pairing of Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lascelles and, despite the claims of American DeAndre Yedlin, right back Vernon Anita, are all expected to be selected.

Newcastle's Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring their first goal with Isaac Hayden

If Colback regains his midfield spot, then the 27-year-old is likely to be partnered with Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the park - meaning that Isaac Hayden could drop to the bench.

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez with Jonjo Shelvey at the end of the match

Newcastle's attacking capabilities currently sees them top of the table and top of the scoring ranks. With 41 goals scored in 20 Championship matches, it is clear that Benitez has the front line purring. 

Newcastle United's Yoan Gouffran celebrates after he scores his sides third goal

Against WIgan it is expected that Dwight Gayle will lead the line, with a trio of Mohamed Diame, Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran supporting from wide and central areas. 

Interestingly, as a measure of Newcastle's free-scoring abilities, Gayle has an average strike rate of one goal every 80 minutes and has accrued 16 league goals so far this season - the exact same tally as Wigan's entire squad has managed.

Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring their first goal

Perhaps consideration of the causality for Wigan's poor scoring record would suggest that manager Warren Joyce will remain with a one-man forward line. As the lowest scorers in the division, Wigan sit in 23rd position in the Championship with just 18 points from their 20 games. 

Wigan manager Warren Joyce

Joyce's predicted 4-5-1 system assumes that Wigan will try to subdue Newcastle at every opportunity - as current front man Yannick Wildschut is a midfielder with just six goals from almost 40 games for the club, and recent midfield selections have seen full backs on the flanks and combative central players in the engine room. 

Wigan's Luke Garbutt in action

However, Wigan do have options from the bench and are likely to name strikers Will Grigg and Adam Le Fondre as substitutes.

Here's the predicted Newcastle and Wigan line-ups in full:

 Newcastle United

Wigan Athletic

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch