After Newcastle’s failure to progress to the serious rounds of the FA Cup provided them with a week off last week, the Magpies return to Premier League action when they take on relegation-threatened Wolves tomorrow afternoon.

Wolves haven’t had as quite an uneventful week as their black and white counterparts though, as finding a replacement for the sacked Mick McCarthy has proved to be somewhat more difficult that first imagined.

First choice candidate Alan Curbishley rejected Chairman Jez Moxey’s advances, as did second-choice Steve Bruce and third choice Walter Smith. With time running out, Moxey bit the bullet and installed caretaker manager Terry Connor as permanent manager, seemingly going against his earlier statement of “I want someone with experience of avoiding relegation”. Interestingly, the unemployed Lee Clark was never approached.

On the other hand, the week off has been highly useful for Alan Pardew to prepare his squad for the visit of Wolves, with Cheick Tiote returning from his African Nations Cup Final defeat to Zambia and having time to rest before making his Premier League return. Yohan Cabaye also returns after completing his three-match ban, meaning the Magpies first-choice midfield is likely to be restored. Papiss Cisse has used the break wisely and had some more clothes flown over from Germany, as he wasn’t quite prepared enough in the wardrobe department following his quick-fire move from Freiburg.

Ryan Taylor also harbours hopes of playing, after the injury he picked up against Aston Villa proved to be much less serious than first feared.

However, despite the army of returning players, Newcastle still have to cope without six first-teamers. Steven Taylor, Steve Harper, Sylvain Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger and Leon Best are all missing, although the returning central midfield pair of Tiote and Cabaye should compensate comfortably for the absentees.

As for Wolves, it remains to be seen whether Ronald Zubar will play any part in Terry Connor’s first team selection as he recovers from a knee injury with just 67 minutes playing time under his belt since last December.

Former Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong is in line to play after recovering from a hamstring injury in his last game for Wolves. The on-loan Spurs defender will likely get a less-than-warm reception from the Geordie faithful as they’re sure to remember how he was quick to be tempted by Spurs, only to sit on the bench and wind up fighting relegation with Wolves. Funny how things work out, right Seb?

Both sides shipped five goals on their last outings; Newcastle capitulating at Spurs whilst Wolves were embarrassed by local rivals West Brom. The defeats will have had more of an effect on tomorrow’s visitors though, with the defeat likely to linger longer in the memory than Newcastle’s apparent demolition at the hands of high-flying Spurs.