Newcastle have a cup semi-final tomorrow night at Southampton as the focus shifts away from the Premier League to two massive fixtures. The Magpies have a fantastic chance at a Wembley final but must take care of business over the next two Tuesday nights.
Eddie Howe has spoken to the press ahead of tomorrow’s clash at St Mary’s. He had this to say about this opportunity for a cup final per the club’s Twitter account:
“We’re delighted to be where we are but the semi-final itself isn’t enough. Ultimately you want to get one step further and I know the players feel the same way. We want to make the final.
“We want it to be a tie for the supporters. The only way we can guarantee that is by performing at our best. We’re desperate for the next step but we have to take our mind off that and focus on the job and that is to go to Southampton and perform.”
Newcastle have done extremely well to reach this point in the competition. Not advancing to the final would be a stinging disappointment. Howe will have the lads primed and ready tomorrow night.
This is a busy time in the footballing world with the transfer window slamming shut in one week. Newcastle will be playing the second leg on deadline day. There may not be much activity on the final day of the window.
Newcastle will be active with Howe needing a couple of new faces to freshen up his squad for the second half of the season. At the very least, the club need to replace Chris Wood.
Howe was asked about transfers with The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder providing his following response:
“From my side, I shift my focus from one thing to another. That’s one of my strengths, my first priority is always the games. And the players we have here, they are always my priority so training and games and making sure we don’t take any shortcuts.
“Then once that is done, it is the transfer market and making sure we identify the players we feel that can make the group stronger.
“The club are trying. That’s where we are, there’s no positive news to give you but certainly, there is a lot of work going on.”
Howe was specifically asked about Everton’s Anthony Gordon, who has resurfaced as a target. The head coach refused to mention any players specifically with it thought he covets a young right-back, a versatile forward, and a midfielder.
Unfortunately, Newcastle have pulled out of the running for Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda. The 18-year-old has been scouted by chief scout Steve Nickson but Arsenal and Dortmund will now battle it out for the young Spaniard according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein.
Newcastle have not matched the on-the-table offer of £13m plus loaning Fresneda back to Valladolid for the rest of the season. It is now up to Fresneda to choose between Arsenal and Dortmund as to where his future lies.