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Newcastle v Wolves: Inside track on the Magpies

By Luke Hatfield | Wolves | Published:

Wolves make the long trip north to Newcastle this weekend looking to build on their memorable win over Chelsea in mid-week.

How will Wolves get on against Rafa Benitez's men?

We spoke with Lee Ryder, Chief Newcastle United Writer for the Chronicle, to get a better look at the Magpies.

See what he had to say here...

Much was made of Newcastle's start to the season, with fear of relegation once again cropping up - what have you made of the Magpies' campaign so far?

Given what Newcastle spent in the summer, United are probably about where they should be.

When you pay just £23million on permanent deals you can't expect to be booting the door down on a top six place or even a top ten slot.

But Newcastle under Benitez continue churning out the results.

There's always talk of Mike Ashley's ownership regarding the Toon, has that had any effect on things on the pitch?

Judging by the performance at Everton you'd have to say no.

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In the past off-field stuff has indeed affected the team but not under Rafa, he has the team well drilled and they will be hard to beat on Sunday at St James'.

Newcastle have not been bothered by goings on off the pitch.

Rafa Benitez is once again working with a limited budget, do you think there are fears he could get sick and tired with things behind the scenes and eventually depart St James' Park?

There's a great chance he will walk out at the end of the season which would be a travesty on Tyneside.

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Continually he gets messed around on transfers and decisions behind the scenes.

He's received no assurances on his requests to update the training ground and Academy and he will be working on that limited budget under this owner.

It's a sad story in Newcastle unfortunately.

What sort of transfer business did Newcastle do this season? What have you made of that aforementioned transfer business?

They did OK with the amount of money they had.

Martin Dubravka is a top class goalie, Ki was a decent free transfer and Kenedy coming on loan was a big boost.

Rondon coming in from Wolves' neighbours has also been a success but that's only a loan.

As I said earlier £23million is a nominal amount to spend these days.

Fabian Schar (£3m) and Federico Fernandez (£6m) have been absolute bargains.

How do you expect the Magpies to face up against Wolves? What's your predicted XI?

Fabian Schar is out suspended but Matt Ritchie is back from the sin bin.

Paul Dummett is touch and go with a hamstring injury.

I think it will be similar to Everton: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Manquillo, Ki, Diame, Atsu, Murphy, Rondon.

Salomon Rondon has been a success on Tyneside so far...

Will they see Wolves as a good target for three points, being at home? Or do you think they'd take a draw?

They will be going for three points.

How they approach remains to be seen because but they usually stay compact and look to expose on the break.

Wolves going for the jugular will probably be exactly what United are looking for.

What have you made of Wolves from afar? Do you think they have what it takes to secure a top 10 finish this season?

I don't think they are the best promoted team ever if that's what you are asking, Newcastle didn't do badly in 1994 when finishing third!

But I still have been impressed.

They play the way all fans want to see.

I actually met the manager Nuno a few years ago in Portugal during his Rio Ave.

I liked his philosophy on the game and his enthusiasm, it's great that he's got a chance in the Premier League and I think Wolves will do well this year.

Your match prediction?

2-1 Newcastle

You can follow Lee on Twitter here...

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
Digital Sports Journalist - @LHatfield_Star

Sports Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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