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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Newcastle United versus West Bromwich Albion, Saturday, February 6

Newcastle United have invested a total of £28.5 million to bring Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Bordeaux midfielder Henri Saivet to St. James’ Park during the January transfer window, not to mention Roma forward Seydou Doumbia, who joins the Magpies on a season-long loan.

However, at the time of writing, the Toon remain in the bottom three in the Premier League, two points from safety, so manager Steve McClaren will be hoping that the recent acquisitions will make more of an impact than summer signings Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has scored just four goals in all competitions, and Florian Thauvin, who has proved equally disappointing.

Newcastle lost 2-1 to Watford at Vicarage Road on their last Premier League outing, a performance that McClaren oddly described as “terrific”, apart from the two goals, so it’ll be interesting to see if the former England manager can draw any more positives from the visit of West Bromwich Albion to St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Tony Pulis’ side has hardly set the world on fire, failing to register a shot on target during their goalless draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the return of Victor Anichebe has increased the Baggies’ attacking threat while, at the other end of the pitch, the return of Ben Foster has bolstered confidence defensively.

If West Brom once again take a direct approach, as they did in the reverse fixture at the Hawthorns over Christmas, which they won just 1-0, despite having 22 shots on goal, they could make the 16/5 available from William Hill look exceptional value by teatime on Saturday.

Selection: West Bromwich Albion to win (16/5 with William Hill)

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