Pre-season is done, the holiday has finished and training is over. Today marks the start of Newcastle United’s 2016/17 Championship season, as they take on Fulham away at Craven Cottage.

Transfer business has been as busy as ever so far this season, with Benitez adding eight new signings to his senior squad, increasing the United roster to 38 players. Today also marks the handover in the club; it is now the players time to perform and secure Premier League promotion.

Benitez, however, still has his work cut out to select the best XI to take all three points and to get off to a fast start in what is now a very difficult league. Like any other manager, he will have to deal with injuries and suspensions over the coming months, but the Spaniard has a good range of options and a vast number of talents to choose from.

The additions of Sels, Clark, Hanley, Hayden, Gamez, Ritchie, Gayle and Diame will make Benitez’s job a lot easier; bolstering options up front and adding much needed strength to the defence.

After watching United both battle and cruise through pre-season matches, it looks as though we will play in a 4-2-3-1 formation this evening, allowing us to really showcase our attacking options and go in all guns blazing.

Like you I will be waiting anxiously until the line-ups are released just after 7pm, but for now here’s what I think our strongest line-up is.

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