Steve Bruce seems determined to field as strong a side as possible tomorrow at Rochdale. However, with so many defenders missing through injury, he’s going to have a hard time finding a way to stick with five at the back.
He will likely be forced to experiment with the formation tomorrow. That’s something that he hinted at during his press conference this morning:
“We’ll look at everything, including the formation. But we have a strong enough squad, in my opinion, to progress at Rochdale, regardless.”
We expect to see a flat back four at Spotland. However, he’ll still have to cobble together a defense with just Federico Fernandez likely to be available at center-back.
We could see DeAndre Yedlin despite his hand injury in at right-back. While left-back is a mystery without Jetro Willems or Paul Dummett. Matt Ritchie could make the bench but probably won’t start.
Bruce has hinted at a possible solution to his backline conundrum. This is what he said about playing some Magpies out of position:
“We’ll try to put out as strong a team as possible. I said from the start I want to take the Cup seriously, and we still want to.
“We have ten or eleven injuries, with five defenders out.
“So we may have to try people in different positions we feel can do a job, like Krafth.”
While he specifically mentions Emil Krafth, another player who can play multiple positions is Isaac Hayden. Isaac played right-back and center-back under Rafa.
Krafth played left-back for a bit against Leicester City before moving centrally when Fabian Schar was forced off. So we could see the Swede at left-back tomorrow.
Elias Sorensen– being saved for FA Cup?
However, Bruce may still have to draft in some youngster to start tomorrow. He spoke about that this morning as well. There could be as many as four in the traveling squad:
“We’ve still got a strong enough squad to go and get a result. We’ll have three or four youngsters traveling with us.
“This time last year, we saw the introduction of Sean Longstaff, which opened the door for him. It could do for someone else this weekend.”
As luck would have it, the U23s take on Fulham this afternoon so we can take a look at who isn’t involved.
Subs: Gamblin, Langley, White, Anderson, Stephenson.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 3, 2020
A few names that jump out are striker Elias Sorensen, defender Lewis Cass, forward Tom Allan, and midfielder Kyle Scott. So they could be ones that will make the trip to Rochdale tomorrow where maybe we’ll see a couple of lads make their Newcastle debuts.
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