Newcastle have six fixtures coming in December and another five in January including the FA Cup third round which is scheduled for the weekend of January 5th. The draw for the FA Cup will take place this evening.
With this heavy run of fixtures, we could see some changes in team selection over the next few months. In the Northern Echo, Steve Bruce has spoken about making changes in his team this month and also in January. This is what Bruce had to say on the subject:
“I’m already thinking of changes. That’s something I also believe we will have to do in January because of the amount of games we have to play.”
An area that is likely to see some changes is at center-back where we have still yet to see Florian Lejeune since he returned to full time training from his knee injury. There’s also Fabian Schar who has not played in the last five matches but has made the bench in the last two.
We would expect to see both of them back in the team in the coming weeks. Likely to make way for the two would be Ciaran Clark and, possibly, Paul Dummett. Clark is an easy choice due to his own heavy schedule since he made his first start in early October.
He’s played every minute of each of his seven Premier League starts as well as getting in both Republic of Ireland games in the November international break. We could see the 30-year-old making way to get a well-deserved rest.
Another player who has featured heavily for Newcastle and his country is Miguel Almiron. Miguel has started all 14 games for Newcastle this season with a further five starts for Paraguay since September.
While his workload has also been heavy, it’s going to be somewhat complicated for Bruce to drop Almiron even if it’s just for a rest. It could cause a stir on Tyneside that he’s lost his place despite that not necessarily being the case.
We’d also expect to see some rotation in the midfield with the Longstaff brothers coming back into the team at various stages over the next few months.
These are crucial months coming up and Bruce needs to be careful to get his team selection right. These next ten league games will play a big role in how well this season goes.
Who Was The Player Of The Month For November?
- A. Saint-Maximin (33%, 328 )
- Fede Fernandez (20%, 195 )
- Jetro Willems (16%, 163 )
- Martin Dubravka (12%, 117 )
- Ciaran Clark (10%, 103 )
- Jonjo Shelvey (9%, 85 )
Total Voters: 991