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Team news: Clark passed fit to start

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Ciaran Clark has been passed fit to start against his former club as Newcastle United take on Aston Villa at Villa Park this evening.

Clark – who has started each of United’s last five games in the Premier League – suffered a knock while away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, but has recovered in time to retain his place in the heart of the Magpies’ defence.

There, he is joined by Federico Fernández and Paul Dummett – who, in the absence of skipper Jamaal Lascelles, kicks off a top-flight game for the first time in nearly two months.

Otherwise, United are unchanged from the side who overcame Bournemouth at St. James’ Park a fortnight ago.

On the bench, however, there is a place for Fabian Schär, who hasn’t figured for Newcastle since last month’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. A knee injury kept the Swiss international out of his country’s last two Euro 2020 qualifiers – against Georgia and Gibraltar – a week ago.

Head coach Steve Bruce confirmed that Frenchman Florian Lejeune is closing in on a return to action at Thursday’s pre-match media briefing, but the defender isn’t among the United squad who have travelled to Villa Park.

Newcastle United: Martin Dúbravka, DeAndre Yedlin, Federico Fernández, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Jetro Willems, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almirón, Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.

Substitutes: Karl Darlow, Emil Krafth, Fabian Schär, Matty Longstaff, Christian Atsu, Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle.

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