JONJO SHELVEY is only on the Newcastle United substitutes' bench for this afternoon's Championship game at Birmingham City.

The influential midfielder has been struggling all week with an illness, and has barely been able to train.

As a result, Rafael Benitez has opted not to risk him at St Andrew's, with Mo Diame set to partner Jack Colback in a deep-lying role at the base of midfield.

With Ciaran Clark unavailable after damaging his knee ligaments, Grant Hanley has been selected to partner Jack Colback at the heart of the back four.

Diame's positional change means Ayoze Perez starts in the 'number ten' position, with Daryl Murphy preferred to Dwight Gayle in attack.

Murphy came off the bench to score Newcastle's consolation against Fulham last weekend, and will the lead the line this afternoon with Gayle having looked lethargic seven days ago as he made his return to the starting line-up following hamstring trouble.

BIRMINGHAM (3-5-2): Kuszczak; Bielik, Shotton, Robinson; Nsue, Tesche, Kieftenbeld, Davis, Gardner, Grounds; Jutkiewicz.

Subs: Legzdins (gk), Gleeson, Donaldson, Adams, Maghoma, Fry, Dacres-Cogley.

NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1): Darlow; Anita, Hanley, Lascelles, Dummett; Diame, Colback; Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran; Murphy.

Subs: Elliot (gk), Gamez, Mbemba, Shelvey, Atsu, Gayle, Mitrovic.