Football: Weekend guide to the Premiership: Newcastle v Aston Villa Last season: 1-0

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The Independent Online
NEWCASTLE defenders Laurent Charvet and Andy Griffin will take late fitness tests ahead of this afternoon's game. Both were injured during the 3-0 FA Cup win over Bradford City at St James's Park last Saturday. Steve Howey is rated doubtful because of the flu virus which kept him out last weekend, and captain Robert Lee is almost certainly out with a troublesome Achilles injury.

Aston Villa will be without their nine-goal striker Dion Dublin for the second consecutive Saturday. The England international is still troubled by the groin strain which forced him to miss the 2-0 FA Cup defeat at home to Fulham. With Stan Collymore undergoing stress counselling, Villa manager John Gregory will again ask Paul Merson and Julian Joachim to lead the attack. Whilst the club's attempts to sign Juninho have taken up most column inches this week, Gregory is not allowing this to detract from the importance of maintaining a championship challenge. "We shall regroup, get everything in perspective and focus on getting something at Newcastle," he said.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (from):Given, Harper, Griffin, Barton, Domi, Charvet, Howey, Dabizas, Hughes, Speed, Glass, Solano, Hamann, Georgiadis, Brady, Ketsbaia, Shearer, Andersson, Dalglish, Pearce.

ASTON VILLA(from): Oakes, Watson, Ehiogu, Southgate, Barry, Wright, Hendrie, Taylor, Scimeca, Merson, Joachim, Grayson, Vassell, Ferraresi, Hughes, Rachel.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: R Harris.