As the busy Christmas schedule prepares to kick into top gear, Newcastle welcome second-bottom Queens Park Rangers to St James’ Park for a 3pm kick off tomorrow. Providing the world doesn’t end in the meantime, Newcastle will be hoping to get a much needed win before tough tests against Arsenal and Manchester United.

With the January transfer window set to open shortly, much of the talk this week has been regarding both clubs’ wheeling and dealing activities. Both clubs are known to want more strikers and Alan Pardew is set to welcome France international Loic Remy from Marseille, in a player plus cash swoop.

Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp is preparing to swoop on Shanghai Shenhua’s recent misdemeanours by taking Nicolas Anelka from the Japanese club. Anelka and club mate Didier Drogba have been let down by the club’s hierarchy and it could lead to the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker returning to the Premier League one last time.

After turning in a good showing against Man City last week, Newcastle will be hoping to give their fans an early Christmas present in the shape of a rare home win. If they are to do so, they will once again be without Hatem Ben Arfa, who will miss out until January with a hamstring problem. The muscle could tear if the Frenchman plays, so Pardew is prepared to let the former Marseille winger recover before restoring him to the first team.

Also missing for Newcastle are Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Yohan Cabaye, but Gabriel Obertan could make an appearance after recovering from injury. The former Man United winger could be in line for a start too, as Pardew looks to give his team some much-needed rotation. Papiss Cisse could be the one who makes way for Obertan, such as his poor form.

QPR have enjoyed a better run of results since Redknapp took the reins last month, having picked up their first win of the season last week at the expense of London rivals Fulham. They are also unbeaten away from home since his arrival, drawing with both Sunderland and Wigan.

The results have lifted QPR off the bottom of the table for the first time in a number of weeks and they will have more confidence when they arrive on Tyneside. Couple this with Newcastle’s improving performance last week and a Christmas cracker could be on the cards.