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Team news: Murphy starts at St. Andrew's

Written by Tom Easterby

Frontman Daryl Murphy has reclaimed his place in Newcastle United’s starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City.

The Irish frontman scored after coming on as a substitute during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Fulham, and will start at St. Andrew’s – a ground where he bagged during January’s FA Cup tie against the Blues – in place of Dwight Gayle.

Manager Rafa Benitez has also handed starts to Ayoze Perez and Yoan Gouffran, while Grant Hanley replaces the injured Ciaran Clark at the heart of the defence.

And midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is fit enough to be named among the substitutes having recovered from illness.

Karl Darlow continues in goal, with Vurnon Anita, captain Jamaal Lascelles, Hanley and Paul Dummett making up the back four.

Scotland winger Matt Ritchie – who scored for his former club Bournemouth in an 8-0 win at St. Andrew’s in 2014 – lines up wide on the right, with Mohamed Diame partnering Jack Colback in the middle and Gouffran on the left flank.

And Perez will start just behind Murphy, with leading goalscorer Gayle named on the bench.

Rob Elliot is the back-up goalkeeper on the bench, while Chancel Mbemba and Jesus Gamez provide defensive reinforcements.

Benitez has plenty of firepower to call upon if required, with Gayle, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Christian Atsu and playmaker Shelvey joining Gayle on the bench.

Newcastle United (4-4-1-1): Karl Darlow; Vurnon Anita, Jamaal Lascelles ©, Grant Hanley, Paul Dummett; Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame, Jack Colback, Yoan Gouffran; Ayoze Perez; Daryl Murphy.

Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Jesus Gamez, Chancel Mbemba, Jonjo Shelvey, Christian Atsu, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dwight Gayle.

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