After the worst week of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle reign, he’ll have to cobble together a squad to face League One’s Rochdale in the Third Round of the FA Cup this weekend.
Newcastle are almost certain to be without 9 players for the match. By all means, it should be more with Florian Lejeune needing a rest. Ki Sung-yueng hasn’t been included in the nine as he has been in training recently. He had initially been ruled out through illness.
The problem areas we see are at left-back and center-back. Bruce has just one center-back not suffering from a knock or extreme fatigue. That’s Federico Fernandez.
Both of our left wing-backs will be out with Matt Ritchie getting close to a return from his ankle injury and Jetro Willems out with a groin problem.
Christian Atsu should be able to do a job in a deeper role on the left. The 27-year-old is well-rested and in need of a start.
Matty Longstaff– should be first name on teamsheet for Saturday
The midfield will likely consist of the Longstaff brothers as Isaac Hayden could also do with a rest, and Jonjo Shelvey will be out with a hamstring injury. We’d also like to see Miguel Almiron through the middle in a three-man midfield.
Bruce should have all four of his strikers available so we could see Yoshinori Muto get just his third start of the season. Andy Carroll will be rested, but it may be wise to go with Joelinton to see if he can score a goal to get him some confidence.
It is best not to cup-tie Dwight Gayle as there is likely to be interest in him from Championship clubs this month.
Bruce has options to field a solid team on Saturday except in defense. It would be great if he gives a couple of youngsters a shot.
There is still no excuse to not advance in this competition. Despite the harrowing situation with injuries, this cup-tie should not be sacrificed, and we expect the strongest team possible to be fielded without endangering players in need of a rest.
What Will Be The Result At Rochdale In The FA Cup?
- Win (51%, 1,097 )
- Loss (36%, 767 )
- Draw (13%, 286 )
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