Is this the Newcastle XI that can end Sunderland's winning run?

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Andros Townsend and Chancel Mbemba are pushing for recalls against Sunderland.

The Newcastle United pair are expected to return to the starting XI for this afternoon's Tyne-Wear derby at St James's Park (1.30pm kick-off).

New manager Rafa Benitez is looking for his team to end Sunderland's six-game derby winning streak.

Townsend came off the bench in Monday night's 1-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Leicester City, while Mbemba has recovered from the ankle problem he suffered early last month.

Benitez also has striker Papiss Cisse available after a three-month absence.

But captain Fabricio Coloccini (calf) is not expected to be involved.

Defender Mbemba seems likely to come in for Jamaal Lascelles, while Benitez could reshuffle his team to accommodate winger Townsend.

Vurnon Anita could be the one to miss out.

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League, while Sunderland a place – and a point – better off than them in the table.

PREDICTED TEAM: Elliot; Janmaat, Taylor, Mbemba, Colback; Shelvey, Wijnaldum; Sissoko, Perez, Townsend; Mitrovic.

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