Doncaster Rovers Vs Newcastle United, Tue 23 Mar 2010

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Doncaster's leading goalscorer Billy Sharp is expected to return to the starting line-up against Newcastle.

Sharp, who has fired 15 goals since arriving at the Keepmoat Stadium in September, was not allowed to play against his parent club Sheffield United on Saturday and James Hayter stepped in.

Rovers squandered several chances in their 1-1 draw with the Blades, so Sharp is likely to go straight back in with Hayter making way.

Defender Gareth Roberts is doubtful due to a hamstring strain and should he miss out Sam Hird would return to central defence with James Chambers switching to left-back and James O'Connor swapping flanks to the right-back slot.

Doncaster, unbeaten in their last six league matches, could close to within three points of the play-offs with victory.

Midfielder Joey Barton returns to the Newcastle squad for the first time since September.

The 27-year-old has been included after recovering from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot which sidelined him for more than five months, although he is short of competitive match fitness.

Central defender Mike Williamson could play with a protective cast on his broken hand after Fitz Hall was ruled out with the hamstring injury he suffered during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Bristol City.

Peter Lovenkrands and Alan Smith (both ankle) will be missing once again but are expected to be available for Monday night's potentially crucial showdown with third-placed Nottingham Forest at St James' Park.

Shola Ameobi (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (knee) continue their rehabilitation.

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Joey Barton
Doncaster Rovers
Bristol City
Steven Taylor
Gareth Roberts
Sam Hird
Alan Smith
Mike Williamson
James O'Connor
James Hayter
James Chambers
Billy Sharp
Nottingham Forest
Fitz Hall
Sheffield United
Peter Lovenkrands
James O'Connor
Shola Ameobi
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