Premier League top-four hopefuls Newcastle United head to Goodison Park to take on season-long relegation candidates Everton on Thursday.
Following a 6-1 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, the Magpies come into this fixture on a high after inching ever closer to landing a first top-four finish in two decades.
Eddie Howe’s high-flyers boast a five-point lead on fifth-placed Aston Villa. With two games in hand, they are firmly on course to fulfil this standout achievement.
However, they cannot afford to get complacent ahead of their trip to Merseyside to meet an out-of-sorts Everton side fighting tooth and nail to secure Premier League survival.
After collecting just three points in the last five matchdays, the Toffees will welcome the kick-off one point adrift of 17th-placed Leicester City following the Foxes’ 1-1 draw at Leeds United on Tuesday.
With the prospect of a first relegation in the Premier League era looming larger, Sean Dyche’s men will take the field desperate to avenge a 1-0 defeat from the reverse fixture.
Among the players on the receiving end of Miguel Almiron’s first-half winner at St James’ Park in October 2022 was Anthony Gordon, who swapped allegiances in a £45 million deal in January.
Although the 22-year-old’s move has not panned out as expected, the prodigious forward will be part of Newcastle’s travelling squad on Thursday.
Howe believes his marquee winter signing possesses the mental fortitude to withstand whatever welcome the Goodison crowd throws his way.
“I think the beauty of it is he’s seen the Everton crowd many times,” he told the club’s official website.
“He was at the club a long, long time, so he will have no surprises about what to expect.
“I’m sure he’s seen other players go back and receive mixed receptions, so hopefully, he has seen enough to be robust enough to deal with that.”
Gordon has yet to score a breakthrough goal at Newcastle despite making nine league appearances for the club in the second half of the season.
It would be a bizarre twist of fate if he opened up his Magpies account against his former club.
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