After the international break concluded with England missing their chance to go top of their World Cup Qualifying group, the Premier League takes centre stage again this Easter weekend, with Newcastle travelling to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City.

The raining league champions look likely to lose their crown to city rivals United this season and have never looked like replicating the kind of form they produced last season when they claimed their maiden title.

Mancini’s men are in their usual formidable home form though, having only lost once there this season. They have also never lost to Newcastle since moving into the new stadium, with the Magpies’ last success against the Citizens coming at Maine Road.

Alan Pardew’s side will be attempting to climb into the top half of the league table with a win, although they will try to do so with a busy treatment table.

Davide Santon has a thigh strain, Mathieu Debuchy has a muscle problem, Massadio Haidara is starting his recovery from Callum McManaman’s horror tackle (of which an apology from either club or player has still to be received) and there are also problems ruling out Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini.

Tim Krul is back in training but won’t play any part tomorrow, meaning Rob Elliot is to don the gloves for perhaps the final time in the Premier League this season. Krul is targeting the Europa League quarter final against Benfica on Thursday to make his comeback and is expected to regain the number one jersey, despite Elliot’s impressive form.

Good news for Newcastle though is that captain Yohan Cabaye is fit to start after playing for France in midweek, while Moussa Sissoko also came through for his country unscathed.

City have Vincent Kompany at their disposal once more after he went against his managers’ wishes and played for Belgium on Tuesday night, while Sergio Aguero is also expected to be back. Serial Geordie tormenter Yaya Toure should also start.

The Geordies could move into the top half should they pull off the win and other results go their way, although with history firmly against them, it could be another week at least before they resume their top-half assault.

A bad run of results could see Newcastle slip closer to the relegation battle that is brewing below them, although the likelihood of the teams directly below the Magpies all winning are somewhat slimmer than the stereotypical half-naked Geordies you see donning their bellies around the country on a weekly basis.