Just a handful of games remain until the transfer window re-opens and Alan Pardew has already started compiling a list of centre halves that Newcastle could potentially buy.
After all, Steven Taylor is out for the rest of the season, with Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson rated as doubtful for the arrival of Swansea on Saturday, thus forcing the manager into arranging another makeshift defence.
If last Saturday’s 4-2 defeat at Norwich is any yardstick, then it could be worth considering the 4/1 (Paddy Power – £100 free bets) about City coming away from St James’ Park with all three points, especially as they beat Fulham 2-0 last weekend.
While Brendan Rodgers’ side have conceded many goals on the road this term, they have also produced some bright performances, most notably when drawing 0-0 at Anfield and having the better chances to win the game.
Pardew will hope that the Newcastle defence isn’t tested on too many occasions and be reassured that Tim Krul is in excellent form between the sticks, with the Magpies a 4/5 chance (bet365 – £200 free betting) to claim victory which would steady the ship after taking just one point from their last four games.
Admittedly, three of these matches were against Premier League title contenders and the positive news is that Demba Ba continues to score at a rate of knots, with the Senegalese star going to be missed when the African Cup of Nations comes around.
Ba is a best price 7/2 to break the deadlock in this match, while Danny Graham should make a return to the starting line-up for the visitors, especially as he poses a physical presence. Scott Sinclair is the penalty taker and can be backed at 10/1.