Newcastle have a massive match against Leeds at St. James’ Park on Friday evening. The problem The Magpies could face is that it is also a very important fixture for Leeds, who likewise have yet to pick up their first win and have had struggled defensively.
According to The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder, there was a dressing room inquest held after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Manchester United. Poor defending was the primary topic of discussion.
Newcastle have conceded 12 goals over our first four matches, which is the most in the league so far. While the defending was better against The Red Devils early, it ended in another lopsided defeat with Newcastle just unable to prevent the opposition from hitting the back of the net.
Leeds have struggled at the back as well and share our -7 goal difference. Though they have had a more difficult start to the campaign with matches against Man United, Everton, and Liverpool.
Bruce will have some decisions to make as Lee Ryder suggests places could be up for grabs, especially at the back. We could see both Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez recalled for Friday. Hopefully, Paul Dummett will be available after a calf injury has kept him on the sidelines since pre-season.
Karl Darlow could also get the nod over Freddie Woodman. Bruce may opt for Darlow’s experience after Freddie made a few mistakes on Saturday. He stepped up and accepted responsibility but it’s another area where a change could be made.
The Chronicle is also backing claims from The Athletic that Callum Wilson will not be risked until October with his thigh strain. This means he’ll miss our next two matches with Wolves on October 2nd being a potential date for his return. The Athletic reckon he may not be back until after the next international break ruling him out for the Wolves match as well.
We’ll also have to wait on news of Javier Manquillo, Joe Willock, and Ciaran Clark, who were all forced off with knocks at Old Trafford. Bruce could already be facing an injury crisis early in the campaign.
This season’s start has been calamitous. However, all it takes is a couple of wins to turn our fortunes around. Newcastle really need to find that first win quickly and the match on Friday is of growing importance.
The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards is suggesting that Bruce’s position is not currently under threat. He is also calling on fans to not be so vocal in their displeasure with things on the pitch.
They are shouting angrily into a wind. Fans called for Pardew to be sacked for months. Didn’t happen. It’s horrible to feel powerless but at what point does it become more harmful to the team than anything else? Interesting debate. Everything will be decided by results in the end
— Luke Edwards (@LukeEdwardsTele) September 13, 2021
That may be wishful thinking as Friday’s match could get very ugly. Especially if Newcastle limp out of the gate like against Southampton. The lads really need a quick and positive start. That should be one of the many focus points in training this week.