Newcastle United begin 2019 with a tough home assignment against Manchester United in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on an interim basis, the Red Devils have been in superb form as they have won all three of their games since.
During that same period, Newcastle have drawn once, lost once and won once. United are the side who are in better form at the moment and they will be the pre-match favourites for this game.
The Toon Army can however take heart from the fact that manager Rafa Benitez has a good record against the Red Devils. The Spaniard has won his last four games against United while in charge of English clubs. One of the victories came during the corresponding fixture last year as the Magpies recorded a 1-0 victory.
For Newcastle, Ki-Sung-yeung will not play as he is away on international duty at the Asian Cup, Goal confirm.
Jonjo Shelvey could be set to earn a start after returning to Magpies action during the 1-1 draw against Watford last weekend.
Newcastle are also sweating over the fitness of defensive duo Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark, who face late tests to gauge their potential involvement.
There is no doubt that Magpies manager Benitez will be trying to persuade club owner Mike Ashley to invest in new attackers this month, especially considering that they have only scored 15 goals so far this season – the second lowest in the Premier League after bottom side Huddersfield Town.
The Newcastle supporters will hope that their side starts the game well and can put pressure on United – a win against the odds would be a welcome move away from the relegation places.