Rochdale (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

Bruce has promised to take cup competitions seriously this season, so what better way to bounce back from a miserable festive period than deliver a rare FA Cup win.

In our way is a Rochdale side who’ll be bang up for this one and gunning for a big ‘giant-killing’ in front of the BT Sport cameras.

They’re struggling in League One, sitting 18th as things stand, but with us out of form, under pressure and in the middle of a major injury crisis, we’ll have to respond and be right at it if we want to get our names into the 4th Round draw.

Predicted XI

Bruce has a few options in attack, but it’s anyone’s guess who he fields in defence, with FIVE of our six senior centre-backs either injured or in need of a rest and FOUR first-team full-backs injured.

I expect Federico Fernandez and Emil Krafth to play, however it’s hard to say who else Bruce can draft in at the back. U-23 defenders Jamie Sterry, Ludwig Francilette and Lewis Cass could feature, with all three being left out of the second string’s 3-0 win over Fulham yesterday, while Isaac Hayden has played at centre-back before so could be forced to drop back with Clark, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett and Lejeune all set to miss out.

In midfield, Shelvey is missing, so a partnership of Matt and Sean Longstaff seems likely. Ki could feature and put himself in the shop window, but the Geordie duo seem ahead of the South Korean in Bruce’s midfield pecking order.

In attack, I can see Bruce giving both Miguel Almiron and Joelinton a chance to build on their fragile confidence levels. After all, they are over £55m-worth of talent, so they should be having a field day against players in a side 18th in League One.

Muto and Gayle are also options in attack and will almost certainly feature, as could Christian Atsu – who’ll be fresh after playing just 46 minutes of football over the festive period.

Two other U-23’s who are being tipped to make the bench are Thomas Allan and Elias Sorensen (both were left out the ‘reserves’ game yesterday), so they’ll be ones to watch.

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-4-1-1) – Dubravka – Sterry, Fernandez, Hayden, Krafth – Atsu, M.Longstaff, S.Longstaff, Almiron – Joelinton – Gayle.

The Opposition

Here’s ‘ones to watch’ in this Rochdale side:

Luke Matheson – Born in 2002 (bet that makes you feel old!), the attacking right-back has already scored at Old Trafford in the League Cup and is reportedly being tracked by scouts on Tyneside. The 17-year-old will be looking to shine again against Premier League opposition – especially when we’re said to be watching him!

Paul McShane – The 33-year-old centre-back is not only a former Mackem but someone who played under Steve Bruce during his time with Hull City.

Team news

The good news is Matt Ritchie is expected to return to our matchday squad for the first time since August, but there’ll be a whole host of senior players missing.

Steve Bruce has confirmed Andy Carroll won’t be risked due to a recurrence of hip/rib problem that kept him out of Man City game in November.

After all four were forced off in the 0-3 defeat to Leicester earlier this week, Fabian Schar (hamstring), Jetro Willems (groin), Javier Manquillo (hamstring) and Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) have been ruled out, while Florian Lejeune is likely to be rested after Bruce admitted he was overplayed during the festive period.

DeAndre Yedlin will also be missing after injuring his hand on Wednesday, although Bruce has insisted it is NOT broken – suggesting he’ll be back before long.

Elsewhere, the game will also come too soon for Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin. The defensive trio are in contention for next weekend’s trip to Wolves, but today’s trip to Rochdale will come too soon for all four.


Based on our recent history in the FA Cup, our recent form in the league and our ridiculous number of injuries, it’s hard to see us winning this at a canter.

That said, we’ll be looking to bounce back after losing our last three, and you’d like to think our mix of experiences pros (Dubravka, Fernandez), squad players with a point to prove (Krafth, Atsu, Muto, Gayle) and youngsters likely to get a chance (Longstaff’s and other U-23’s) will be able to get the job done.

Prediction: Rochdale 1-3 Newcastle

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

107 thoughts on “Rochdale (A): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line ups

  1. Olly, I wouldn’t be risking Dubs today if i was Bruce. Let’s face it we are nowhere near fit and strong enough to fight on multiple fronts .
    Under this owner we can only realistically concentrate on our league position, especially now with so many injuries to key personnel .
    Dubs has kept us in so many games and i would not risk him at this stage of the cup.
    Let’s see what some of our young ones can do, you never know we might find someone who can score. 😉


  2. kimtoon:
    Olly, I wouldn’t be risking Dubs today if i was Bruce. Let’s face it we are nowhere near fit and strong enough to fight on multiple fronts .
    Under this owner we can only realistically concentrate on our league position, especially now with so many injuries to key personnel .
    Dubs has kept us in so many games and i would not risk him at this stage of the cup.
    Let’s see what some of our young ones can do, you never know we might find someone who can score. ?

    your bang on there mate


  3. Quite a strong side actually! But we are playing Hayden and Krafth in a back 3. In fact not too dissimilar to the team Eric suggested would play. Both Longstaff bros and Almiron and Joelinton playing. Very happy to see Sorensen, Allan and Cass on the bench, and Ritchie is back on bench too.

    Rochdale will really be up for this, it won’t be easy! 3-1 to us I reckon. ?????


  4. Well Olly: Yedlin’s hand didn’t keep him out. I would have called him Deandre Marcelino if it had. Very suspicious of the Gayle “knock”. I think it is more likely they are negotiating his permanent exit. Probably West Brom for them to make certain of promotion. 15 million is cheap to do that given they are guaranteed about 110 mil in the PL. I would make that bet.


  5. It is not like Gayle suddenly becomes worthless if he doesn’t score for West Brom in the PL. They could still get a lot of their money back. The wages might be the only issue.


  6. The ghost of Ronnie Radford! Only on pay internet here so wont be watching as you have to sign up for the full package and not a single game. We are due some luck but I still see us conceding so 2-1 to NUFC.


  7. Not overly happy to see Dubs start, why not Darlow? if not now when does he get a chance. Better hope Dubs don’t get crocked .

    Gayles not got a knock either, he’s off .


  8. Listening to Radio Newcastle. Was confident enough that I thought even Ando couldn’t make it THAT depressing. Goal for Miggy.


  9. Hope that gets Almiron scoring regularly and the pundits off his back. It is not like he is Jesse Lingard.

    JLingz has no goals and no assists in over a year. But he does have a nickname that he made up. He has his own logo that he had one of his mates design. He has his little dance and handshake that he does with Pogba. And his own clothing line (that is losing money, who knew 🙂 ). Can there ever have been a footballer with a higher opinion of themselves? Seriously, who in their right mind would buy a Jlingz hoodie?

    Does he rap as well? Haven’t seen it but he probably does.


  10. Ando logic: he just said that since Rochdale have been so crap so far that you feel they are going to do something soon. Such positivity Ando!!!


  11. Love how Miggy gets back to help, always works hard, just wish he’d get on a goal scoring run.


  12. ESPN have it and so far it has only been on their internet channel. They showed the later rounds on cable last year and I hope they do this year. Not that we are likely to be involved 🙂 I think we will go through today though.


  13. Waddle is also pretty quick to turn negative on NUFC. I don’t mind him but he does like to have a dig at NUFC.


  14. Kimtoon: you have Ferdinand as well on BT, right? Another with his own clothing line. WHY? I think Ashley sells it for him. Again, who would want to be Rio.


  15. Eric, It’s Peter Dury and Rob Savage commentating, The Toon fans were chanting Robbie Savage is a ****** is a ****** early on, clear as day, they had to apologise for it cause it was so clear 😆


  16. Really poor from Joelinton and Muto.

    It’s going as expected against a team near the bottom of league 1 – always going to be tough to judge but the players are working hard and not giving Rochdale a sniff.

    If there is a positive – I like the look of Yedlin as a RW. He’s been hugging that line and caused problems out wide.
    That might be worth considering in future games.


  17. Notice how many of our players face our own goal to receive the ball. It usually ends with a back or sideways pass. Already seen some dangerous passes across our own box. Will we never learn?


  18. Guardian says 74% possession which will please Stuart. If we keep creating chances and Joe and Muto keep missing them is that worse than not creating them. Thought I would get into the Ando spirit there 🙂


  19. I hope Bruce is ripping into Joelinton and Muto – not good enough.
    Give them 15-20mins to improve or hook them if they don’t. I think Sørensen deserves a chance from the bench if those 2 numpties don’t up their game.


  20. Actually my Ando impression is a valid point. This is Joelinton’s chance to get some goals and boost his confidence. If he keeps squandering chances, eventually the crowd will get on his back. They did with Perez in the first part of last year.


  21. This is quite a good example of how inept we are in attack. We’ve had so much possession yet haven’t look over threatening. This against a div 3 side. Just a observation on the bigger picture.


  22. Why do that????

    He does not see Ki in his squad going forward so why bring him on for Muto … give Sørensen or Allen a chance FFS!!!.

    His first team forwards can’t hit a barn door, so let the young uns have a look and maybe put some pressure on.


  23. I really do think they have had a solid enquiry for Gayle and maybe an actual bid. I still think it is madness to sell if they do not have a replacement lined up. He really hasn’t had a run in the team to get sharp. He is not the answer, but he is better than nothing. He is the only one of our players who has scored regularly in England, even if most were in the Championship.


  24. What an unbelievable set of fans we have!!.

    We are playing awful this second half, and yet still it is only our fans you can hear – not booing, not getting on the players backs but encouraging their team


  25. So we pack the midfield against fking Rochdale – Longstaffs, Ki and Hayden. We never play 4 in midfield. Leaves Joelinton alone up front.

    Trying to hang on to the 1 goal lead 🙂 Amazing tactics that.


  26. Hope Almiron isn’t too badly injured, he was asking to come off.

    very open game now
    Can see Stu’s prediction coming true here, Wilbraham seems to have made a difference for Rochdale


  27. I don’t trust Ando but he is really down on Sean Longstaff. Says his thinking is too slow which I have to admit it has been in the games I have seen him in. We are learning that currently the Longstaffs are not the answer. We need an attacking midfielder as Shelvey blows hot and cold and now seems injury prone.


  28. Ferdy hoofing it long now 🙄

    Good stop Dubs, we are all over the shot here
    And another save
    deary me, we need another goal here


  29. Eric, Sean has grown into the game, not the best of the bunch though, we just seem to be out of puff and not winning the ball as we were first half.


  30. I mean, if Shelvey is injured, Ki off somewhere and the Longstaffs not good enough/injured in Sean’s case then that leaves us with 1 midfielder – Hayden.


  31. God I am scream at my TV here!!.

    This is atrocious!!. I’ll make a defence for struggling against the likes of Man Utd, Leicester and Everton – but this is pathetic!!.

    This group of players can’t keep up the same intensity and work rate in the 2nd half as they showed in the first half – disgraceful – and that goes for Bruce as well!!.

    Those fans have travelled all that way – the least they deserve is 100% effort and commitment from the players.


  32. I want Sean to get the form of last season back but we really do need to get another midfielder in. Easier to get on loan than a striker, so I think we will get one.


  33. Right that’s it – I defend Joelinton no more!!.

    Get ****ed Newcastle- this is an absolute disgrace.


  34. We just aren’t good enough up front. Simple as that. If this doesn’t open their eyes nothing will


  35. 1.1 Wilbraham
    said he’d made a difference, 40 year old showing joelinton how to score

    What a load of ******* from us this second half, bl oody embarrassment .


  36. 4 midfielders against Rochdale. Joelinton! If this holds there is going to be a Bruce slaughter.


  37. Eric aye, i knew we’d be crap second half, Atsu not getting a look in this half.
    I have totally had enough of Joelinton now as well, just drop him, b loody hell rather we played Sorenson,


  38. Guaranteed these players are tired according to Bruce. Like only Newcastle have played this many games.


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