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Preview: Bristol City v Newcastle United

Bristol City v Newcastle United
Sky Bet Championship
Ashton Gate
Saturday, August 20th (3pm)

Bristol City host Newcastle United at Ashton Gate in front of the biggest home crowd for 26 years.

NEWCASTLE UNITED
After disappointing defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield Town in their first two matches back in the Sky Bet Championship, Newcastle earned their first three points of the season with an emphatic 4-1 win over Reading on Wednesday night. All goals were scored by new signings as Issac Hayden and Matt Ritchie put the Magpies 2-0 up before former City target Dwight Gayle found his shooting boots to net twice and seal victory. Newcastle were installed as heavy favourites for the Championship title before the season and Rafa Benitez has assembled a strong squad to mount a promotion push. Newcastle have spent around £40m on new recruits after losing Georginio Wijnaldum and Andros Townsend to big fees. 

MANAGER
Rafa Benitez - Highly-experienced manager who began his career in the dugout at Real Madrid B in 1993. After stints with Spanish clubs Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura and Tenerife, Benitez took over 2000 and 2001 Champions League finalists Valencia. He led Els Taronges to their first La Liga title in 31 years and two years later he won it again alongside the UEFA Cup. Following his successful spell with Valencia, Benitez became the first Spaniard to manage in the Premier League becoming Liverpool’s new boss. In his first season at Anfield, Benitez failed to improve Liverpool’s league form but inspired the Reds to an unbelievable Champions League triumph. With Liverpool 3-0 down at half-time, Benitez’s troops battled back to 3-3 before winning the trophy on penalties. Benitez left Liverpool in 2010 and after a short stint with Inter Milan, where he won the Supercoppa Italiana and FIFA Club World Cup, he joined Chelsea on an interim basis. His short-lived spell with the Blues ended in Europa League success and he followed it up by winning Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana with Napoli in the 2013/14 campaign. Benitez got the hot seat at Real Madrid but his time at the Galacticos was unsuccessful. The 56-year-old was appointed Newcastle boss in March 2016 in an attempt to keep them in the Premier League, but despite a six-match unbeaten run at the end of the year, the Magpies suffered relegation. Benitez confirmed he would stay as Newcastle manager in May. 

OFFICIALS
Tony Harrington is the man in the middle. He will be assisted by Mark Jones and Darren Blunden. John Law is the fourth official. 

TICKETS
No further tickets are available at this time. 

LAST TIME OUT
Bristol City 2-2 Newcastle United (2010) - Newcastle netted twice in four second-half minutes to earn a point against City at Ashton Gate. City went a goal up through Lewin Nyatanga early on and a superb Nicky Maynard strike just before the break increased their advantage. Jonas Gutierrez capitalised on Dean Gerken’s poor throw to pull one back before Andy Carroll restored parity sweeping home Wayne Rutledge’s pass with 15 minutes remaining. 

City: Gerken, Orr, Ribeiro, Carey, Nyatanga, McAllister (Sno 46), Elliott, Hartley, Skuse, Maynard, Haynes (Sproule 85). Not used: Henderson, Johnson, Clarkson, Akinde, Maierhofer. 

Newcastle: Harper, Simpson, Coloccini, Hall (Kadar 51), Jose Enrique, Routledge, Nolan, Guthrie, Gutierrez, Best, Carroll. Not used: Krul, Taylor, Pancrate, Butt, Ranger, Donaldson. 

LAST SEASON
Premier League: 18th 
Emirates FA Cup: Third round (lost to Watford)   
EFL Cup: Third round (lost to Sheffield Wednesday) 

DID YOU KNOW?
From 1892 to 1929, Newcastle United’s team was selected by a committee, whose secretary had the same powers and role as a manager has today.