Steve Bruce has given his press conference this morning, and it looks like there’s a good chance Joelinton will be available for the FA Cup replay against Rochdale.
It was earlier reported that Bruce may hold the Brazilian back due to a groin injury.
Here is a tweet from the Chronicle’s Ciaran Kelly with Bruce’s comments about Newcastle’s number nine.
On Joelinton: "The No.9 jersey on Joe is wearing a bit heavy, we all understand that," Bruce said. "It's an opportunity for him. I'm hoping he is going to declare himself fit this morning and hopefully get off the mark and up and running and maybe it's the ideal game for him."
— Ciaran Kelly (@CiaranKelly__) January 13, 2020
Joelinton has been struggling with a groin injury over the past few weeks, according to Steve Bruce. It looked as if his day was going to end like Paul Dummett’s and Dwight Gayle’s on Saturday at Wolves with a first-half exit.
However, the 23-year-old stayed in the game and soldiered on before being replaced by Andy Carroll in the 78th minute. Steve Bruce was impressed with Joelinton’s perseverance to stay in the game.
This is what Bruce said after the draw on Saturday about his striker:
“I do believe Joe is genuine. He’s going through a tough period, there’s no question about that, and that horrible word confidence for a striker is there for everyone to see.
“He battled on today, which I won’t forget, but he was obviously nowhere near fit.”
While we admire Joelinton’s fortitude to keep playing through his injury, Bruce is playing with fire here. It may be best to keep Joelinton out of replay tomorrow. If he’s not fit, why risk him?
Bruce could be hoping that Joelinton will get a goal against the League One team at home which, in turn, could spark his confidence. However, that’s a double-edged sword as the game at Rochdale had the opposite effect. If he’s hobbled, that’s also going to affect his play.
Bruce, however, is bound and determined to field as strong a side as possible. It’s almost as if he feels he has a point to prove by fielding only senior players.
This is a welcomed stance considering the history of the Ashley era. However, Bruce needs to balance this approach with what is best for the squad.
Here are some of Bruce’s comments on the importance of the FA Cup.
SB on the FA Cup: “For too many years we haven’t had any cup run at all. It doesn’t do any harm. We’ve got two League One teams to be in the Fifth Round so let’s go for it.” pic.twitter.com/D9ascjE54Q
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 13, 2020
It’s great that Bruce is trying to change the attitude to the cups at Newcastle. However, he needs to tread lightly, and if there are only U23 players fit at a particular position – then so be it.
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