Newcastle host Manchester City on Boxing Day hoping to inflict more misery on the ambitious Blues.
City wasted the chance to go top of the Premier League for Christmas as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Everton on Monday, and Newcastle will be eager to build on a fine start to Alan Pardew's tenure.
The Magpies' trip to Birmingham last Saturday was one of seven Premier League games to fall victim to the weather at the weekend so Newcastle have not played since their 3-1 home win against Liverpool.
Following the controversial dismissal of popular manager Chris Hughton, it was questioned whether the Newcastle players would be behind his successor. But the Magpies soon allayed any such fears as they put in an impressive performance to overcome Roy Hodgson's resurgent Reds.
That halted a run of five games without a win for the Toon and top scorer Andy Carroll sealed victory by smashing in his 10th goal of the season in stoppage-time.
The new England striker will be eager to catch the eye again as many will be watching to see whether City can bounce back, and Joey Barton will also be keen to impress against his former club having begun to regain the form which earned the tenacious midfielder an England cap while at City.
Before Monday's slip-up, Robert Mancini's men had gone unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions and remain joint second with Arsenal, two points behind league leaders Man Utd.
But all of City's title rivals now have games in hand and they may be content with a draw, with home games against Blackpool and Aston Villa to follow where they will be expected to get maximum points.
The build-up to Monday's game had been overshadowed by captain Carlos Tevez announcing he wanted to leave City and although he and the club claimed shortly before kick-off he had withdrawn his transfer request after 'clear-the-air talks', the 10-goal striker looked well out of sorts.
The Blues will need their talisman to be back near his best on Tyneside as they aim to improve their impressive record against Newcastle.
The Magpies have failed to win in their last eight meetings with City, with the Blues winning 2-1 at Eastlands in each of the last two, while City's last visit to St James' Park was a 2-2 draw in October 2008.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew could opt to reinstate centre-backs Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini, who have completed their three-match bans.
Goalkeeper Steve Harper has overcome a shoulder injury, but Shola Ameobi is a doubt with a hamstring problem.
Manchester City are without Kolo Toure following his sending off against Everton, although Nigel de Jong returns after serving his own suspension.
Pablo Zabaleta is included in the squad despite recent head and ankle injuries.
Doubtful: Ameobi (hamstring)
Injured: Ben Arfa (broken leg), Gosling (knee), R Taylor (ankle)
Suspended: K Toure (one match)
Possible Starting XI
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Taylor, Campbell, Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez, Routledge, Carroll.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Boateng, Kompany, Kolarov, De Jong, Barry, Y Toure, Silva, Tevez, Balotelli.
• Manchester City are unbeaten in their last eight league games against the Magpies since Michael Owen scored the only goal in a 1-0 Newcastle win in September 2005.
• This is the third Boxing Day meeting between the sides. Newcastle won 4-1 at home in 1905, while Manchester City ran out 4-0 winners at Maine Road in 1977.
• Victory for City would ensure a first league double of the season, having won 2-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium in October.
• Newcastle and Manchester City have both amassed 40 yellow cards so far this term - a Premier League high.
• Newcastle have traditionally fared badly in their post-Christmas fixture, winning only two of 16 games during the Premier League era.
• Victory last time out ended a run of five league games without a win.
• The Magpies have scored 19 goals at home this season, the equal second highest behind leaders Manchester United.
• Andy Carroll (10) and Kevin Nolan (8) have contributed two thirds of Newcastle's 27 league goals this term.
• Manchester City are unbeaten on Boxing Day since 2005, when they lost 4-3 at Wigan.
• City have the equal best away record in the Premier League, alongside Arsenal (W5, D2, L2), although Roberto Mancini's side have the better goal difference.
• Roberto Mancini's side are yet to register a comeback win this season. They have lost three of the four games in which they have conceded the opening goal and drawn the other.
• Man City's first defeat of the season came in the north east; a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.