Intensity back as Mitrovic prepares for Everton clash

Aleksandar Mitrovic
Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will come in from the cold against Everton at St James’s Park on Boxing Day (5.30pm kick-off).

And boss Steve McClaren is hoping for a hot streak in front of goal from the Serbian.

Papiss Cisse has led the line in the Magpies’ three-game unbeaten run, but he is expected to miss out against the Toffees with a groin injury, amid fears he could miss the entire festive season.

Mitrovic – who replaced Cisse after 33 minutes in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa – is set to lead the line for the Magpies, and has been challenged to add to his tally of three goals.

Head coach McClaren wants to see a refreshed Mitrovic start to “pull it all together” quickly.

“[Mitro] needed to come out for a few games,” said McClaren.

“He’s done that now and has his focus and energy and intensity back.

“He has shown that in the last two games.

“He has bullied defenders – he did that against Chelsea.

“That’s what we want from him.

“He’s got talent and all the ingredients, he just needs to pull it all together.

“We’re hoping he can make an impact this season, the quicker the better.

“He’s been boosted by the goal he got at Spurs.

“You don’t know with young players, we’re just hoping he has those spells where he is very effective.

“He needs to score more goals, yes, but he was bought as a development and someone with potential, and that’s how he’s playing at the moment.”

McClaren believes Mitrovic can learn from Romelu Lukaku – one of the Premier League’s inform strikers with goals in eight consecutive games, the first Toffees player to do so since 1954.

Stopping him is a big ask for Newcastle’s defensive duo Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba.

McClaren said: “He is a top striker.

“I remember watching him when he was at Anderlecht for Twente in a winter friendly, he was about 16 or 17 and he was a player then.

“He’s done well since leaving Chelsea, a long way to go but he’s certainly a handful who scores goals in a good team.

“He’s had to develop and now he’s looking like a real deal, the complete centre-forward.”

Going into the game, Newcastle are 17th, a place and two points above the bottom three.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have recalled Ivan Toney from his loan spell at League One club Barnsley to help provide cover during Cisse’s absence.

The 19-year-old returns after scoring twice in eight appearances for the Tykes and is expected to be on the bench against Everton.