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Newcastle United's new recruit Chris Wood is ready to step straight into the side for Saturday's crucial clash with relegation rivals Watford, Eddie Howe says.
Wood became Newcastle's second signing under their new ownership, and new boss Howe, when he joined from fellow strugglers Burnley this week.
The New Zealand international only has three goals to his name this season but has a proven record in the Premier League, having found the net at least 10 times in each of his campaigns with the Clarets.
With Callum Wilson out for around eight weeks with a calf injury, it was imperative that Newcastle, who had already brought in Kieran Trippier, signed striking reinforcements as they bid to stay up.
"We're really pleased with the signing of Chris. I think he'll fit in really well with the team. He's experienced, he's ready to play, and he's done very well historically for Burnley," Howe said.
"He knows the Premier League and I think he gives us something a little bit different to what we have. I think all those qualities mixed together mean it's a really powerful signing for us."
Saturday's game is the first of three in the space of six days for Watford that are all against sides heading into the weekend in the relegation zone.
Watford have made three signings themselves this window - Edo Kayembe, Hassane Kamara and Samir - and Claudio Ranieri believes his team can put distance between themselves and the bottom three.
"I believe in this team and I am sure at the end we will be safe," he said. "But of course we need to change this position, it's not possible to continue in this way.
"I see in between sessions they work so hard. If you continue in that fight, to believe in yourself, sooner or later you will win."
Newcastle United - Chris Wood
Fresh from his big-money move, Wood will be determined to hit the ground running. The 30-year-old last scored for Burnley back in November, though his next Premier League strike will be his 50th in the competition.
Watford - Emmanuel Dennis
Emmanuel Dennis has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last nine Premier League games (six goals, four assists). Overall, he has got eight goals and five assists this term, with only Troy Deeney (three times), Odion Ighalo (18 in 2015-16) and Gerard Deulofeu (15 in 2018-19) registering more goal involvements in a single Premier League campaign for the Hornets.
- Newcastle have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games against Watford (D4 L5), a 1-0 home victory in November 2018.
- Watford have won two of their last four away league games against Newcastle (D1 L1), as many as they had in their first 14 such visits to St. James' Park (W2 D3 L9).
- Newcastle have lost their first home league match in the last three years, losing to Man Utd in 2019 and Leicester in both 2020 and 2021. The Magpies last won their first home match in 2017 in the Championship, a 4-0 win over Rotherham United, while they last did so as a Premier League side in 2012.
- Newcastle have won just one of their 19 Premier League games so far this season (D8 L10). Just one of the last 13 teams to have one win or fewer at the halfway stage of an English top-flight campaign has survived relegation, with West Bromwich Albion doing so in 2004-05.
- Watford are without a clean sheet in any of their last 28 Premier League games, since beating Liverpool 3-0 in February 2020. The Hornets' last clean sheet away from home in the competition was in January 2020, in a 3-0 victory against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth.
Updated January 14, 2022