Watford vs Newcastle United: Premier League match preview, team news, manager quotes and likely line-ups

Jonjo Shelvey will be back in contention for Newcastle when they travel to Watford on Saturday.

A win for Newcastle over mid-table Watford would give them valuable breathing space in the Premier League relegation battle.

Watford, though, can climb up to seventh and go two points behind Manchester United with a victory at Vicarage Road.

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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez and Watford boss Javi Gracia

The Magpies won the reverse fixture 1-0 in November with Ayoze Perez scoring the only goal of the game.

What the managers are saying

Javi Gracia (Watford): “I think we are in a good moment. I have good feelings. We can win, we can lose but when I see my players they always give their best and are competing in all the games we’ve played and with different options against all the teams we’ve played so far.

“I’m happy with their behaviour and I’m sure we’ll keep it in the future as well.”

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Newcastle celebrate Ayoze Perez’s goal in the game earlier this season

Rafa Benitez (Newcastle): “We saw last year we can cope with the intensity and the number of games – I am expecting something similar.

“It’s simple, (the aim is) to stay up.

“I decided before I came to the press conference not to talk about the transfer window.

“I talk with (managing director) Lee Charnley every day, but then I decided not to talk about the transfer window.

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Rafa Benitez did not want to answer questions about transfers

“I know some of our players, the agents are telling us this club is interested or another one, but we are not ready at the moment to sell anyone.

“The only one that now is available in the window is Elliot because the others, at the moment we need them. Obviously, we have too many keepers and we have to manage, but Rob is available in the window.”

Team news

Watford will be without Christian Kabasele against Newcastle.

The defender was hospitalised after colliding with a goal post during the defeat to Chelsea, though he appears to have escaped serious injury.

Will Hughes (hip), Andre Gray (leg), Sebastian Prodl (knee) and Adalberto Penaranda (foot) were all absent on Boxing Day and could remain out.

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is available for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Watford after a five-game absence.

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Yoshinori Muto of Newcastle United is fouled by Watford’s Etienne Capoue

Shelvey’s recovery from a thigh injury is timely for manager Rafael Benitez, with Ki Sung-yueng now away on international duty with South Korea at the Asian Cup.

Benitez has only keeper Karl Darlow (elbow) and defender Ciaran Clark (ankle) missing, with Florian Lejeune now available after a lengthy lay-off with knee ligament damage.

Predicted line-ups

Watford: Foster, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Femenia, Doucoure, Capoue, Sema, Pereyra, Deulofeu, Deeney.

Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden, Kenedy, Ritchie, Diame, Joselu, Muto.

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