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With Five Out, Bruce Must Get Team Selection Right Over Hectic Period

Steve Bruce has some decisions to make over the next few fixtures on who rests and when. There are four matches from Thursday to the FA Cup trip to Rochdale next Saturday.

We are likely to be without at least four players over that stretch with Ki Sung-yueng possibly being back soon. The South Korean has been ruled out for Thursday once again due to an illness.

Here is injury analyst Ben Dinnery’s tweet on the five players definitely out for Boxing Day.

Steve Bruce also spoke about Jetro Willems and Paul Dummett during his press conference. It’s looking positive on Jetro, with Paul still feeling the effects of his groin injury suffered on Saturday.

The head coach also touched on Andy Carroll’s availability. Andy has made consecutive starts over the past two weeks as Bruce has found ways to get both Andy and Joelinton on the pitch together.

However, with Andy, Bruce recognizes that he needs to be cautious. With four games in just over a week, Bruce will have to decide which games are the right ones to put Carroll in from the start.

The Chronicle have published comments about the availability of his big striker:

“I’ve got to try and box clever. We’ll see how Andy is this morning.

“He wants to play every week but I’ll have a conversation with him.

“It would be unrealistic to think he could play two games in 48 hours, but knowing how he is, he’ll want to. We’ll see how he is. Watch this space.”

While Bruce doesn’t rule it out, he’s not likely to have the 30-year-old available for both Manchester United on Thursday and Everton just two days later. He may start him in one and then allow for a late cameo in the other.

We would suspect the same to be true for Florian Lejeune, who just came back on Saturday after over 8 months away. However, the situation with Paul Dummett complicates matters for the back three.

Bruce has some decisions to make, and what he decides to do could have repercussions on how we fare during this hectic run of games and beyond.

30 comments so far

  • Jib

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #1

    It’s clearly time for Rafa’s strategy of identifying the most winnable
    games and adjusting his matchday squads accordingly

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #2

    I find it hard to believe there are actually any Bruce haters. He’s just not hateable, just as Rafa wasn’t but is to some it seems. Hate is a strong word. Whatever my personal feelings re – Bruce’s appontment, the sheer unadulterated emotional explosion that erupted when Miggy scored was an iconic moment and something that will stay in the memory a long long time and the way Bruce reacted too had me choking up!

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #3

    That’s the point though. Nothing to say he is or isn’t at this stage. Why not give him the benefit of the doubt? That is why the window will be telling for me. Or more specifically, his response if some of the shortcomings aren’ addressed

  • hibbit

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #4

    fair point and one i can’t answer, i can only give you the symptoms not the cure.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #5

    Maybe hate Bruce is wrong. Their hatred of Ashley masks any goodwill towards Bruce? That is probably more accurate.

    Although in fairness, I can’t say I have ever particularly liked the person Bruce has portrayed himself as through his managerial career.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #6

    Lilo like Krafth was? If buying players for 0.5m from some lower level league who are going to improve a premiership side was that easy don’t you think there would be mass transfers? There is Gems out there for sure but finding them and releasing them is not as easy as you make out.

  • Nufc-83

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #7

    I was willing to give Bruce the chance then I didn’t see enough from him early on to win me over but slowly I’m now starting to come around. Rafa always felt like he had a plan for development and improvement yet I don’t get that with Bruce however current results are good so onwards and upwards I say.

  • posada

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #8

    Dec 23, 2019 at 10:53 AM
    Comment #201
    There’s a lot of posters knocking the quality of football this season and seem determined to run down the team / manager / fans at every opportunity; they obviously never watched the Home games Under Rafa. I’m not anti Rafa and was sad he left but his football was poor, overly negative and predictable at home. Even in the championship winning season he would play 1 up and happily sit back and give up possession to absolute garbage instead of going all out and battering some of the crap we played.
    Last season’s home form was torture to watch up until the Man U win and even after it still didn’t improve much other than the last few games once we were safe – caution was always first option rather than entertaining fans.
    This season we haven’t been much better but their is a greater intent and Bruce needs some credit for that. He’s also been more flexible with his player selection and more recently formation – all things we never saw with Rafa.
    I’ll never be an Ashley fan but I’ll always be a Newcastle fan and can’t understand how “fans” in this blog want us to be crap. Why can’t we be united for 90 mins Each week and celebrate the wins, the graft, the team spirit and the good luck we are experiencing. Just for a change let’s be happy we have a manager who loves the team and is willing to take a few chances – forget the owners – we could always go back to Seymour and McKeag who couldn’t sell Waddle Beardsley and Gascoigne quick enough. Short memories for some.

    Great post and worth repeating. Hopefully Kenny will post some more.
    I remember early in our Championship season. We beat QPR 5-0 away. Mitro and Perez up front as a two.
    I thought great that’s how it will be for this season.
    No he never played the two of them again just about.
    Why ? It was not the Rafa way. He has to be the hero, not the players.
    Rafa has to take the glory. He didn’t have a playing career and I think the glory he missed as a player he now wants as a manager.
    Had to be all about Rafa’s tactics.
    Defend hit on the break etc.
    We made hard work of it at times.

    Munster will remember this. I said Wagner at Huddersfield is doing just as well with loans and a few free transfers.

    The Rafa Deity Brotherhood went nuts.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #9

    Surely the cure would be Bruce getting shafted in this window, and comibg out Feb 1st and saying the club didn’t do enough and failed to address elements he has highlighted as key areas to improve?

    He has spoken out against owners/chairman and never been afraid to challenge and address problems publically if required. If he didn’t this time, it is quite telling I think.

    Obviously, if by some miracle, Bruce get’s exactly what he feels is needed and gets some of what he needs in, then it is his sword to fall on, or his team to grow and improve.

  • hibbit

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #10

    only time will tell us the answer to that,

  • posada

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #11

    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:30 PM
    Comment #6

    but on the football side the time to judge Bruce is at the end of the season not before.

    Or when he gets us safe. At this rate it will be 3 or 4 months quicker than Rafa ever did.

  • posada

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #12

    The owner did not like Rafa.
    Rafa did not like the owner.
    I won’t go into why.

    The point I will make is this.
    Ashley is a reclusive strange type.
    They only trust a small circle of people.
    From Howard Hughes to Mike Ashley, they only trust a small circle.
    JKF, Wise, Carr and other assorted Casino pals.

    Now if Bruce gets his trust you never know.
    You just never know.
    Bruce can judge a player as well as anybody by the way.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #13

    I didn’t say it was easy. I said it was easily acheivable if you are good at your job. Krafth came from one of Europe’s top 5 leagues, and is a full international. If you want a functional right back for a mid table side, then Krafth probably fits the bill.

    Krafth will have been a Nickson signing, as all our summer business was – except possibly Carroll, who was ‘take what you can get as we need a body’. Wrong players positionally, and not neccessarily the right character to deal with it. If same happened again, I would hope Bruce says as much, rather than accepting it.

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #14

    Hibbitt I had stones thrown at me because I said rafa had small hands. And an orthopaedic glove. That was only to show that I met him. In person he was a gent, put a phone call on hold and posed for a pic with my proud daughter. I wanted him here long term but couldn’t abide the unwillingness to show up his negative points. That’s what I railed against.

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #15

    Re Bruce, I know a medic who met him at said he was far brighter than people might think, and an extremely likeable guy. I hope he has a vision like Rafa but I guess for now he just wants 40 points like rafa did too. I have to commend both men on the team spirit they have engendered. How different from the Sissokos and Co of the past.

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #16

    I don’t hate Bruce.

    The football is awful, worse than Rafa but points make prizes.

    Bruce IS a decent guy, I know this as he always smiles and says hi in the park with his dog.

    Doesn’t mean I think he’s a decent manager or right for the job, it would be harsh to be too hard on him as he’s getting results despite performances.

    I’m not really sure you can judge a manager after 10 games, a season or even 2. The only time you can judge a manager is after he’s left, how the team performed under him and in what state he left the club.

    I’ll always be grateful to Rafa for what he did what he tried to despite Ashley not playing ball.

    I’ll judge Bruce when hes gone

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #17

    I think he will Lil. Ashley really only cares about the resale value, so if the budget is 15mill, Bruce will decide which 15mill guy we go for. I cant imagine an ex man u centre back is a shrinking violet in meetings etc

  • Munster Mag

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #18

    OP I would expect a rough phase coming up but hopefully we won’t all melt down and hang the manager off Tyne bridge. That’s an imbalanced team he is trying to manage for sure.

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Dec 23, 2019 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #19


    Every manager under Ashley has had a unbalanced squad barring possibly Pardew, once he got 5th Ashley made sure that wouldn’t happen again.

  • geordietom

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #20

    Munster from earlier thread #193…

    re: Tsunki i just ignore him now mate cant be bothered with his delusion’s of grandeur . his long winded answers to every thing . thats my final word about him i’ll go back to ignore mode …

  • Mindshaft

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #21

    Wtf! Seems like I’ve ended up in a parallel universe and everyone in this blog is saying Ashley’s a great bloke and it was Rafa’s fault , Bruce is a number one manager playing decent if not great football and somebody even banging on about how great sports direct is and how there share price has gone up !!

  • JohnJ

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #22

    Just came across this on the Chronic website – if you think we’re struggling what about those nine miles to the south eh?



  • Munster Mag

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #23

    I’m off to get me slazenger socks now Mindshaft 🙂

  • Unused Substitute

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #24

    I thought I’d clarify my thoughts on Steve Bruce. I just can’t trust him because he’s been disloyal (his ditching of Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday was completely unprofessional, his ditching CP was found illegal as well), he’s not been confident with his ways (recall him saying “Shouldn’t have played Saint Maximin” or something similar, or receiving messages from players during a match that his “tactics” are not working) and he’s a tendency of shifts blame (“Not having the ball the players got accustomed to;” this season we have lower ball possession compared to 2018/19).

    I support NUFC. For that I don’t have to support Bruce’s ways or his style. I don’t have any issue if everyone else adores him. Just that I’m entitled to having my own opinion.

    And, finally, Merry Christmas everyone.

  • Big Bruce Stars.

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #25

    Aye I’ll just refer to him but I’m if iring him really ha ha

  • Big Bruce Stars.

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #26

    Ignoring him. Tsk.

  • Big Bruce Stars.

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #27

    Long winded = difficult words

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #28

    The football under Bruce is like Pardew, results from no where.

    Defend irraticly for 90mins and pray we’ve managed to score.

  • Big Bruce Stars.

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #29

    I’ll give Bruce this we’ve only been stuffed once under him but then it was virtually straight out of the traps. Pardew had a yo-yo team you couldn’t predict when it was going to get hammered or win valiantly.

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Dec 23, 2019 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #30


    I still have no idea what to expect every time we step on the pitch, which is why I feel I’m being pardewed, just glad I’m not a players wife.


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