Predicted Newcastle side to face Brighton: Henri Saivet, Mikel Merino to return?

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James' Park on December 27, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle will be much-changed again against Brighton as they look for three crucial points.

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James' Park on December 27, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

Newcastle United made five changes against Manchester City on Wednesday night, but they could not quite scrape a point against the Premier League leaders.

That fixture pales in significance next to Saturday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, though, where the Magpies must end a five-match losing run at St James' Park.

There are likely to be a number of changes again as Rafa Benitez looks to keep his side fresh for a key match...

Paul Dummett of Newcastle United walks off injured during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon...

Rob Elliot has found form in the last two matches and will retain his place in goal, while the defence in front of him is likely to revert to a back four.

Ciaran Clark is likely to come back in next to the impressive Jamaal Lascelles, but Paul Dummett could keep his place if Benitez believes he has the legs for another 90-minute shift.

The wingers will surely change - with Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu ready to come back in - while the big call could well come in the middle of the midfield.

Mikel Merino excelled as a substitute against City and should return, but it could be either Jonjo Shelvey or Henri Saivet alongside him. Saivet's midweek rest could see him get the nod.

Up front, meanwhile, Joselu continues to be key to Newcastle's best results and it would be no surprise to see Benitez restore a partnership with Ayoze Perez.

How we expect Newcastle to line up against Brighton:

Newcastle v Brighton

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