All the info ahead of our trip to St James' Park
Newcastle United vs Brentford
Saturday 15 October
St James' Park
Sky Bet Championship
The Magpies six-year stay in the top flight came to an end in May despite a stirring end to the season under Rafa Benitez. The damage was done in January and February as United picked up just eight points from 11 matches to sink into a relegation mire they couldn't escape from. The summer bought over £100 million of player movement on Tyneside with 11 fresh faces arriving and ten departing. The signings of Matt Ritchie [AFC Bournemouth], Dwight Gayle [Crystal Palace], Matz Sels [Gent], and Jesus Gamez [Athletico Madrid] for a combined £30 million in early January were a signal of Newcastle's intent and that was confirmed with further arrivals in the shape of Isaac Hayden [Arsenal], Ciaran Clark [Aston Villa], Grant Hanley [Blackburn Rovers], Mo Diame [Hull City], Darryl Murphy [Ipswich Town], and Achraf Lazaar [Palermo]. The sales of Andros Townsend [Crystal Palace], Remy Cabella [Marseilles], Georginio Wijnaldum [Liverpool], and Moussa Sissoko [Tottenham Hotspur] helped to balance the books as The Magpies looked to adjust to life in the second tier.
That adjustment looked like it might take a while as United suffered defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield Town in their opening two games but they roared back with five straight league wins, including a 6-0 victory at QPR, to climb to second by mid-September. A surprise defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers followed that run but seven points from their last three league games has Newcastle in third place ahead of tomorrow's match.
Rafa Benitez comes to the Championship with one of the most successful CV's in world football. His former clubs include Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, and Real Madrid and a trophy cabinet that includes two La Liga titles, one Champions League, one UEFA Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, one FA Cup, one Italian Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and two Italian Super Cups.
The 56-year-old Spaniard had a short playing career as a defender before starting on the path to management. It was at Valencia that he first proved himself, winning two league titles in a division dominated by Real Madrid and FC Barcelona before moving to Liverpool. Benitez is still revered on the red half of Merseyside for his five years at Anfield. The Spaniard's only previous meetings with The Bees came as Chelsea manager during the 2012/13 season when Uwe Rosler's side took The Blues to a replay in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
The Match Officials
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant Referees: Christopher Akers and Philip Dermott
Fourth Official: Christopher Kavanagh
A crowd of more than 51,000 is expected for Saturday's match with limited away tickets on General Sale until 2pm this afternoon. Click here for more information and to buy now.
Directions on how to get to St James' Park and matchday parking arrangements can be found here.
Principal partners 888sport offer the latest odds on tomorrow's meeting.
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You can hear live match commentary on Bees Player from 2.30pm tomorrow, with Mark Burridge and Dave Morley.
There will be live match updates on Twitter from 2pm.