Newcastle United will try and put their miserable festive period behind them as the new year starts with the welcoming of Everton to St James’ Park. The Toffees are in good form as they fight for a Champions League place but suffered defeat to Chelsea last time out and have a poor record on Tyneside.

David Moyes’ men have only won one of their last ten visits to St James’ Park but meet Newcastle as the Magpies have only won two of their last ten games and slip towards the bottom three in the league.

Newcastle – despite losing both of the thrillers against Manchester United and Arsenal – have been improving lately though and don’t look as bad as their league position suggests. Much of the January speculation around Tyneside will involve Demba Ba, but the Senegal striker is still a Newcastle player as no one has activated the much talked about release clause.

Already with a thin squad, Alan Pardew has been hit with another injury as Danny Simpson is set to miss four weeks of action with a broken toe. By the time he returns, Simpson could have lost his place in the team to Mathieu Debuchy, who is expected to finally sign in the next couple of days from Lille. Debuchy will be in the stands to watch his new side tonight, possibly alongside best mate Yohan Cabaye, who is back in light training after his injury.

James Perch is set to fill Simpson’s place tonight, in turn taking up his third position in as many games, having played in midfield and central defence in his last two games.

Newcastle’s injury list is still as huge as ever and includes: Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Vurnon Anita. The injuries mean Gael Bigirimana could continue in midfield after turning in impressive performances in the last couple of games and will likely be paired with Sylvain Marveaux, who produced his best display for Newcastle in the game against Arsenal.

Mike Williamson will return after suspension and Cheick Tiote will be available for the last time before heading to the African Nations Cup. Shola Ameobi’s participation in the same tournament is still being argued by both club and country, so it’s anybody’s guess whether the big striker will be pulling on a Nigeria shirt in the near future.

The main news for Everton is that Marouane Fellaini is back after completing his three match ban for battering Ryan Shawcross and is expected to come straight back into the starting line up. Darron Gibson, Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Tony Hibbert are all out, while Captain Phil Neville is doubtful.

Fulham winning on Tuesday night means Newcastle can only move up one place if they win tonight, but it will be over arch rivals Sunderland should they overcome the Toffees.