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Senegal strikers Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse are included in the Newcastle squad for the game with Villa.

Fifteen-goal Ba and new signing Cisse are available following their country’s premature departure from the African Nations Cup with the latter in line for a debut following his big-money January move from Freiburg.

Midfielder Yohan Cabaye serves the second game of his three-match suspension after being found guilty of violent conduct, while defender Steven Taylor (Achilles) and midfielders Sylvain Marveaux (groin) and Sammy Ameobi (knee) continue their respective recoveries.

Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is again a major fitness doubt with back and hamstring spasms for the game against the Magpies.

Agbonlahor is to undergo a special fitness programme with the club’s conditioning coach, Adrian Lamb, to try and eradicate such problems after missing the midweek home draw with QPR.

Winger Marc Albrighton (thigh) and central defender James Collins are also battling to be fit while midfielder Chris Herd continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Harper, Simpson, R. Taylor, Santon, Ferguson, Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Kadar, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Gosling, Abeid, Vuckic, Ba, Cisse, Best, Shola Ameobi, Lovenkrands.

Aston Villa (from): Given, Guzan, Hutton, Lichaj, Collins, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Baker, Bannan, Clark, Petrov, Ireland, Albrighton, Bent, Keane, Agbonlahor, Heskey, N’Zogbia, Weimann, Marshall, Johnson, Gardner, Stevens.

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