Here is our predicted line-up for tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City. It has 8 changes from the draw against Aston Villa.
Bruce will be forced into quite a few changes but could also want to rotate in a few players to keep them in the mix. This team represents a mixture of that thinking.
The Chronicle is reporting that Jonjo Shelvey has joined Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie as doubts for tomorrow’s match. So we’ve left all three of them out as it would be a risk for them to play three games in eight days.
The Chronicle also reports that Nabil Bentaleb will be suspended due to receiving yellow cards against Oxford in the replay and West Brom. However, my understanding is that yellow cards are wiped at the quarter-finals. Chris Waugh also has him as available but nufc.com has him as suspended.
So we are not too certain, but if he is unavailable, then we suppose Bruce is in a dilemma in midfield unless Sean Longstaff is ready to go.
Upfront, there’s a strong possibility Bruce will want to go with Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle together from the start. They linked up well for Gayle’s goal against Aston Villa.
It’s a risk to play Allan Saint-Maximin, but Bruce has shown he isn’t exactly risk-averse when it comes to playing his star winger this season. On the right-wing, Valentino Lazaro is an obvious choice for Matt Ritchie.
The back four sees two changes with Fabian Schar coming in for Federico Fernandez and Emil Krafth in for Javier Manquillo. We think Bruce will be making these changes to get Fabian and Emil some time on the pitch. Krafth is a better choice in a back four than DeAndre Yedlin.
Finally, Bruce sticks with Karl Darlow as his FA Cup keeper. Karl has been so unfortunate this season and has played well so far in the tournament.
There’s a lot of changes here, and we’re not sure Bruce has the stomach for this many. But I guess we’ll find out tomorrow evening.