Ipswich Town striker Leon Best is relishing his return to St James’s Park in tomorrow’s Sky Bet Championship clash.
The 30-year-old hit 10 goals for the Magpies in two years on Tyneside from February 2010, but his focus now is on getting Ipswich up the table.
Mick McCarthy’s men head north on the back of a 2-0 midweek victory over Burton Albion at Portman Road, a first victory since mid-September.
But their strength is at the back, with just two goals conceded in the last seven matches, with five clean sheets in the process.
Best, yet to score for Ipswich since joining in the summer, told itfc.co.uk: “It’s the first time I’ll be back there, so I’m definitely looking forward to it and hopefully we can get a win.
“The crowd there’s massive and they’ve been on a good run, but the boys seem really up for it and we’ve scored goals and kept another clean sheet, so we’ll be going up there confident.”
Fellow frontman Freddie Sears added: “It’s going to be a tough game but the pressure is on them so if we can go and cause an upset then brilliant.
“The fans have been brilliant for us, even through the tough times, so hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”
McCarthy has midfielder Jonny Williams (after a thigh problem) and striker David McGoldrick (ruled out with ruptured ankle ligaments since August) available again to face Newcastle.
But midfielder Cole Skuse is rated doubtful after picking up a toe problem against Burton on Tuesday.
Former Sunderland boss McCarthy said: “It’s the ligament in his toe, which he had last season and he missed a few games with that.
“It’s nowhere near as bad as that though and we haven’t ruled him out yet. He’s had a scan and we will see where we are with him.
“Jonny and Didz (McGoldrick) have both trained and trained well. They will be available for the weekend and Dougie (Jonathan Douglas) is OK as well.”
“He had a bit of fluid on the knee but I wanted to get Bish (Teddy Bishop) and Kevin Bru in the team against Burton anyway, so that’s why I left him out.
“Luke Varney trained as well and we will see how he is. It may be too early for him.”