Newcastle v Wolves
Premier League. Sunday December 9. Kick-off 4pm. Live on Sky Sports.
WITH takeover talk back on the agenda on Tyneside it's crucial Newcastle don't plummet out of the top flight as they try to finally wriggle free of Mike Ashley's clutches.
They sit just a point above the drop zone but have shown promising signs in recent weeks. A three-match winning run lifted them out the bottom three before a 3-0 defeat at St James' Park to West Ham provided a sobering reminder of their struggles.
However, the Magpies followed that up with a battling performance in the 1-1 draw at Everton in midweek and now need to improve their home form.
The six defeats in eight outings at St James' this season is the joint worst record in Newcastle's history and they face a Wolves side who have a spring in their step fresh from taking the scalp of Chelsea.
That halted a run of one point from six games for the top-flight newcomers who started the season like a train before veering off track. Still, Nuno Espirito Santo's men are a comfortable nine points clear of drop danger and should survive with a bit to spare.
The visitors are slight favourites for victory here at 33-20 with 888Sport who make the hosts 19-10. Best option is the draw at 21-10 in what looks a tight encounter where goals could be at a premium with over 2.5 paying 11-8.
Still, both teams to score is a value punt at 19-20 with 888Sport considering the Toon have kept just one clean sheet in eight at home while Wolves have netted in five of their last six away days.
Rafa Benitez's side will be set up to get the ball wide and deliver ammunition for big frontman Salomon Rondon who has three goals in his last four games and is 5-2 to get on the scoresheet and 27-5 to break the deadlock.