On Saturday, Newcastle felt the effects of playing less than 48 hours earlier. That was none more apparent than in watching Florian Lejeune struggle all game until Steve Bruce replaced him in the 74th minute.
Yesterday 20-year-old Kelland Watts trained with the first team. We would expect him to at least make the bench tomorrow with Bruce being short three defenders.
He could also make his debut if Bruce rests Florian Lejeune. The Frenchman has just returned to the team against Crystal Palace 10 days ago. Despite not playing for over 8 months, Florian has started three games in 7 days.
Bruce may be thinking very hard whether he’s going to risk giving the 28-year-old another start to make it 4 games in less in a week and a half.
Such is life on Tyneside at the moment. Newcastle just keep picking up muscular injuries which has stretched the squad to its max. Our opponents tomorrow have had much better luck.
They should be in much better shape for the match tomorrow. Brendan Rodgers made nine changes to his side in their 2-1 win at West Ham on Saturday. They also will only be without Matty James, who’s not played for Leicester in almost a year.
The Chronicle have published some comment from Bruce on the Leicester City match. This is some of what he had to say:
“To make as many changes as they did (on Saturday) is pretty drastic, but obviously, with the two games they’ve played, he must have been looking at it and thinking of ours as well.
“We’re all wanting four or five changes. It’s ludicrous.
“You’re asking questions of the wellbeing of someone like Flo Lejeune for example.
“You’re asking him to play, and it’s not right, so we have to do something about it in this country.
“I know it’s the festive period and all the rest of it, but it’s ridiculous when you see some of the states that they’re in, especially the ones who played on Boxing Day and Saturday.
“It certainly isn’t right, we’ve got to do something about it.”
Tomorrow’s game is going to be a struggle. Bruce may roll the dice with players like Florian and Andy Carroll, believing he can rest them for the FA Cup match at Rochdale.
That would then give them over a full week of rest before we travel to Wolverhampton, which is another match that will be very difficult to get anything from.
However, it may be best just to rest Florian Lejeune and give Kelland Watts a start. Four games in a week and a half for a player coming back from two major knee injuries could be asking too much.
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