Atromitos - Newcastle Preview: Magpies return to Europe after five-year absence
Alan Pardew is set to ring the changes for his side's trip to Athens which comes only 48 hours before they travel to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League
By Husmukh Kerai
Skondras, Fytanidis, Oikonomou, Tavlaridis
Dimoutsos, Brito, Pitu
Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Santon
Anita, Bigirimana, Amalfatino
Obertan, Campbell, Gutierrez
Alan Pardew will use some squad rotation for his team's trip to Athens, as Newcastle travel to Chelsea on Saturday, with key trio Fabricio Coloccini, Chiekh Tiote and Demba Ba all left at home, as they are carrying knocks.
Hatem Ben Arfa will also not feature after picking up a three-game European ban with previous club Marseille in 2010.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Charles Itandje is the Greek side's first choice in goal and is expected to feature on Thursday evening.
Another player once of British shores, Njazi Kuqi, has just completed a move to Atromitos and could make his debut against the Magpies. He is the brother of former Premier League strike, Shefki, and has turned out for Birmingham, Blackpool and Stevenage during his time in England.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Athens-based Atromitos finished fourth in the Greek Super League last season, 23 points behind champions Olympiakos.
- They were relegated in 2008 but gained promotion straight back into the Greek Super League at the first time of asking.
- Atromitos have never won the Greek league or cup, though they have won the second division twice.
- The Greek side have only ever played two European games, they lost 6-1 on aggregate to Sevilla in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup.
- Newcastle have played 119 European games in their history.
- The last time the Magpies were in Europe was in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup, when they blew a three-goal lead in the last 16 against AZ Alkmaar.
- In total Newcastle have played 16 seasons in European competition and the Uefa Intertoto Cup is their only title.
- Former goalkeeper Shay Given is the club's record appearance holder in European competitions.
- While Alan Shearer (right) is the club's record goalscorer in Europe with 30 goals.
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Top 3 Predictions
Atromitos 0-3 Newcastle United
- 19.21 %
Atromitos 0-2 Newcastle United
- 13.11 %
Atromitos 1-2 Newcastle United
- 10.67 %
|Europa League (EL)||30 Aug 2012||Newcastle United 1 - Atromitos 0|
|Europa League (EL)||23 Aug 2012||Atromitos 1 - Newcastle United 1|
|18 Dec 2013||Atromitos 1 - PAOK 1||GRE1|
|14 Dec 2013||Panathinaikos 1 - Atromitos 2||GRE1|
|8 Dec 2013||Atromitos 3 - OFI 0||GRE1|
|30 Nov 2013||Platanias 1 - Atromitos 1||GRE1|
|23 Nov 2013||Atromitos 1 - Veria FC 0||GRE1|
|9||Luis Eduardo Santana Brito||Midfielder|
The young Greek forward is untested at European level having just joined Atromitos in the summer of 2011.
The 21-year-old only made six first-team appearances for the club in his first season but is expected to break into the first team during this campaign, with his versatility of playing on either the right flank or in a central striker's position a benefit to the team.
Much is expected of Newcastle's newest addition. The midfielder joined from Ajax this summer and made his debut in the Magpies' 2-1 win over Tottenham. With Cheikh Tiote left to recover from a knock he picked up in that win, the Dutchman should feature from the start.
He wil be vital to Newcastle's hope of progressing through this tie in his deep midfield role where Alan Pardew will look to him to build attacks, control the tempo and add additional cover for his two centre-backs.
Newcastle will be without several key players meaning they may struggle to leave Athens with a win. They will enter a hostile atmosphere at the Peristeri Stadium, which should be packed to the rafters for a rare European tie for the Greeks.It is likely to be a cagey first leg with both sides desperate to stay in the tie for the return match at the Sports Direct Arena.