Newcastle United host Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park on Saturday night seeking a first Premier League victory over this latest, modern incarnation of Wolves under the guidance of Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo since their 2016 takeover by Fosun International and promotion back to the big time in 2017/8.

The Magpies are looking to bounce straight back from back-to-back away defeats at Chelsea and Manchester United and return to the winning ways which saw the club pick up six points from nine with two wins in three games before that with impressive victories away to Everton and home to Southampton.

Steve Bruce's Newcastle have picked up a point per game on average since the start of the season which extrapolated over the full season would give Newcastle 38 points in total but with teams across The Premier League picking up points everywhere and the table itself resembling a game of Snakes and Ladders at times with a run of good results or bad defeats dramatically changing League position, more may be required.

Ex Magpie Scott Parker's Fulham in 18th place are now just 3 points behind Newcastle in 17th spot after a mini-resurgence of form culminating in a controversial 1-0 win over Sheff United, effectively damning The Blades to the drop, a win which was achieved with 7 loan signings yet it was this penalty call that had all fans scratching their heads:

especially with Newcastle also being denied a very early penalty at Old Trafford when Harry Maguire smashed an arm into the face of Jamaal Lascelles, which former Premier League referee Mark Halsey believed was a clear spot-kick:

You'd think Newcastle had brought legal action against The Premier League...

Whatever the machinations above, Newcastle have a golden opportunity to fight their way out of trouble in the next four games when the fixture list eases somewhat with Wolves, West Brom, Brighton and Aston Villa the next 4 games and it is imperative Steve Bruce' side win games and the points needed for survival starting against the black and golds whose form has upturned lately after a stuttering start of their own to 2021.

Two wins on the spin against Leeds and Southampton has eased Wolves' own relegation fears and justified their manager's decision to field a weakened team in The FA Cup Cup against Southampton and prioritize The Premier League yet they haven't been the same since the awful head injury to star striker Raul Jimenez which fractured his skull in late November and it was great to see him return to training this week:

Newcastle's top gun Callum Wilson posted pictures of his own training recovery from a hamstring strain as well this week on Instagram, sparking speculation he is ahead of schedule to return and could join The Magpies final push sooner than expected. An excellent Podcast with Laura Woods and Ade Akinfenwa was released by SKY last night and revealed a lot about the striker's motivation and attitude and offered great insight into the game on all matters NUFC from Steve Bruce to Allan Saint-Maximin & England.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer noted the improvement in Newcastle's recent form since the arrival of Graeme Jones last week and it was Bruce's "inspired choice" as his new First Team Coach, who has experience of the relegation dogfight, that could lead to an end of season flourish in the final 14 matches.

The Geordie coach was no. 2 to Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic when The Latics, after seemingly being in the bottom 3 of the Premier League all season, would come alive in the final third of the season & win the games and points needed to stay up.

This was most spectacularly in evidence in the 2011-2 season when Wigan won 8 of their last 14 games and drew 3, beating Newcastle's high-flyers under Alan Pardew 4-0 to dent any Champions League qualification hopes that season as well as Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal to win 27 of their final 43 pts total and finish 16th.

It was an improved repeat of the end to the 2010-11 season when Wigan won 20 of their final total 42 points total in the last 14 games of the season winning five games and drawing a further five to finish 16th on 42 points beating West Ham on the final day of the season partly thanks to a free-kick from former Newcastle star Charles N'Zogbia.

Of course, Wigan finally went down in 2012-3 when their focus was split between survival and winning The FA Cup which they did almost miraculously against Man City and Newcastle want to have guaranteed Premier League safety way before the final day of the season and that clash away to Fulham - which may or may be played in front of fans - but its reassuring to know Jones has a wealth of experience of beating the drop.

In his pre-match presser, Steve Bruce confirmed that striker Joelinton, who was excellent in the hour he was on the pitch last week, is fit after recovering from the kick that forced him off at Old Trafford but the game could be too soon for Fede Fernandez and paid tribute to his key attackers Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, who are his main gamechangers and goalscorers in the absence of hit man Callum Wilson:

The daffodils are up which signals to lifelong veteran of the game Bruce that the business end of the season has arrived and he is "quietly confident" that Newcastle can end the season on a high and well above the relegation zone:

Prediction - Newcastle 3 Wolves 1

Potential Line-Ups: