Blackburn v Newcastle preview

Team news ahead of Saturday afternoon's Premier League clash between Blackburn and Newcastle at Ewood Park.

Last Updated: 11/02/11 at 10:45

Ranger and Best: Passed fit to face Rovers

Ranger and Best: Passed fit to face Rovers

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Striker Roque Santa Cruz returns to Rovers' squad for the visit of the Magpies.

The Paraguay international has missed the last two matches with a groin injury but has now fully recovered.

Defender Gael Givet (groin) is still not fit, although utility player Phil Jones' rehabilitation from a knee operation is ahead of schedule and he is set for a possible return in April.

January signings Mauro Formica, who arrived from Argentinian side Newell Old Boys, and Ruben Rochina, from Barcelona, are still a few weeks away from featuring as they continue their integration into the squad.

Newcastle strikers Leon Best and Nile Ranger will be fit to take their places in the squad for the trip to face Rovers.

Best withdrew from the Republic of Ireland squad with a tight hamstring, while Ranger did not report for duty with England Under-20s because of a back problem, but both men will be available at Ewood Park.

They will be joined in the squad by new recruit Shefki Kuqi, while Shola Ameobi hopes to return from a fractured cheekbone in as little as three weeks' time after being fitted for a protective mask.

Central defender Steven Taylor will return to training after a hamstring injury on Monday, while loan signing Stephen Ireland continues his recovery from the knee problem he picked up while with Aston Villa.

Ryan Taylor (ankle), Dan Gosling (knee), Alan Smith (ankle) and Hatem Ben Arfa (broken leg) remain on the sidelines.

Blackburn (from): Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Hoilett, Andrews, J Jones, Dunn, MB Diouf, Santa Cruz, Pedersen, Bunn, Hanley, Emerton, Nzonzi, Grella, Benjani, Roberts, Kalinic.

Newcastle (from): Harper, Krul, Simpson, Perch, Ferguson, Enrique, Coloccini, Williamson, Campbell, Tiote, Barton, Nolan, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Vuckic, Richardson, Lovenkrands, Best, Ranger, Kuqi.

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Premier League Fixtures

Saturday, 20 December 2014
12:45
Man City v C Palace  
15:00
A Villa v Man Utd  
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16:00
Liverpool v Arsenal  
Monday, 22 December 2014
20:00
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