Steve Bruce has given his press conference for the FA Cup quarter-finals against Manchester City. It looks like it could be anywhere from just two unavailable to as many as six out for Sunday.
Bruce: "I still think it's a little bit early for Lejeune and Clark. We're hoping the two Longstaffs might be available. But, we have a big training session today, and we'll see how they come through that." #NUFC @bbcnewcastle
— Matthew Raisbeck (@raisbeck10) June 26, 2020
Bruce is still short at center-back, so we expect he’ll rotate Fabian Schar in for either Jamaal Lascelles or Federico Fernandez since both played two full matches this past week. He does have young Kelland Watts in reserve if things get desperate.
Today’s training session is a big one for the Longstaffs, who have been unavailable this week due to knocks. Both Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden were taken off with knocks against Aston Villa, they’ll face late fitness tests for a place on Sunday.
We think Bruce will use more of his squad on Sunday. Ritchie and Hayden seem likely candidates to be replaced in any case. We’d like to see Valentino Lazaro come in on the right-wing as he did against West Brom in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Hayden’s ball-winning ability could be a miss, but we suppose Nabil Bentaleb can do a job in the role. One of the Longstaff’s could also be brought in for Shelvey, who probably shouldn’t be playing three times in 8 days.
It’ll be a very interesting team selection for Manchester City, and we haven’t much of a clue of what Bruce’s thinking is.