Newcastle United Vs Blackburn Rovers, Wed 10 Nov 2010

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Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has few injury problems ahead of their Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn.

Full-back James Perch has a slight ankle problem which could keep him out, although Danny Simpson's return to fitness has seen the former Nottingham Forest defender named only among the substitutes in recent weeks.

Striker Leon Best has returned to training after a long-standing ankle problem, but the game will come too soon for him, and only Steve Harper (shoulder), Hatem Ben Arfa (double leg fracture) and Dan Gosling (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Hughton's men certainly have experienced both the peaks and troughs of Premier League football inside their opening 11 fixtures.

A 6-0 demolition of Aston Villa in their opening home game and a glorious 5-1 derby rout of Sunderland have lit up St James' Park, while wins at Everton, West Ham and Arsenal have demonstrated remarkable poise and resilience for a side which plummeted into the Football League at the end of the 2008-09 season.

However, things have not always gone to plan on Tyneside with Blackpool and Stoke having left with all three points and Wigan coming within seconds of doing the same until Fabricio Coloccini's injury-time equaliser denied them.

Hughton said: "We knew it was something we had to address before the Sunderland game.

"We started with a home game against Aston Villa and perhaps we raised the bar so high that it was always going to be difficult after that.

"But what we have found is that teams have come to St James' with a gameplan, at times sat a little bit deeper and made life difficult for us.

"But these are the things you have to overcome. We were delighted to get the Sunderland result and that addressed some of the problems we felt we had at home.

"It is about now taking it on to the next stage."

Blackburn have a number of injury problems with striker Benjani the latest to join the absent list.

Benjani suffered a hamstring injury against Wigan at the weekend and joins Steven Nzonzi, Vince Grella and Keith Andrews on the sidelines.

El Hadji Diouf is doubtful with a groin problem and may not start.

Boss Sam Allardyce said he is unconcerned about the reception he will receive from the Newcastle fans - he is more concerned about achieving a result against a side who have won three league games on the spin.

He said: "It will be my first trip back to St James' Park as a manager and I don't know whether I'll get a good or bad reception. It's three years ago and a long time since it happened and, right or wrong, what happened is history.

"They are the in-form team in the league, three wins on the trot has boosted their confidence so we will need to be at our very best."

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