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. How bad must Gayle be not to get a game in front of Joelington? Does he go into training in a shell suit with a can of Stella and a silk cut in his mouth?


  2. Stuart79:
    How bad must Gayle be not to get a game in front of Joelington? Does he go into training in a shell suit with a can of Stella and a silk cut in his mouth?

    Nah mate, just his bottom lip out i reckon. He’s off anyway


  3. If you can’t score goals you can’t score goals. It really doesn’t matter who we play. That’s why the reply is no guarantee of a win. This team needs serious surgery up front and Joelington needs taken out of the team for his own good.


  4. Kimtoon: that’s how Savage gets his gig, by being a bell-end or controversial as he would see it. He was a very average player. Merse gets his gig by playing the fool. I don’t know why Owen is on TV, he seems to have no interest in it and does no research. Reputation as a player. He proves that good players do not always make good pundits and Savage shows that bad players also don’t always make good pundits.


  5. Right, now that i lost 90+ mins of my life i won’t get back i’m off
    good game for the neutral though.


  6. Shameful, just fu.cking shamefully atrocious. That was absolutely shockingly bad … give Joelinton a tea trolley because that’s his level… there are not enough expletives in the English language for me to say just how bad that was… ?????????????????????????????


  7. Chronic report saying some NUFC fans giving Joelinton stick and chants of we’re f-ing sh!t.


  8. It really does have the look of a death spiral now. Bruce has done it at Sunderland and Villa. We should be able to spot it by now because 4 of our last 5 Managers have done it, and not just at NUFC – Pards, UglyJohn Carver, McCLaren and now Brucie.

    That’s what you get Fat Mike when you go for the cheap option.


  9. Eric, it was Joelintons misplaced pass which led to them breaking down the right and Wilbraham scoring.
    He has been a total liability today in truth, just drop the plank ffs.

    Right i really am off before i go full on rant.


  10. Forget injuries, or poor form – that 2nd half was a joke.

    Those players were not playing for the manager or the shirt – and Bruce did NOTHING!!.

    I know the bench was weak, but I watch Pep and Klopp on the sidelines shouting at their players week in week out – switch to Bruce and there he’s stood with Agnew whispering sweet nothings in his ear.



  11. Bruce deserved credit for getting results up to Christmas even though the football was dire. Now he deserves stick for this mess we find ourselves in. Including the injuries. He was still extremely passive about incomings as of a few days ago. Maybe he should grow some balls.


  12. When’s the replay? Not that I really care because we are going to lose the next 3 PL games anyway, whether players are fit or not. Bruce will have to put out what he feels is his best team though otherwise I think the crowd will turn on him bigtime.


  13. Sharpy: it does have the feel of McClaren both for England and at NUFC now. Pochettino is available 🙂


  14. Bruce now not mincing his words. Finally ffs! I hope he’s telling the ******s in the boardroom the same. Sounds like he’s really wanting to tell everyone that Joelinton is ****e and a waste of cash.


  15. Stu – I don’t know what words you’ve heard but the Bruce interview I’ve just heard he’s blaming the injuries to Muto and Almiron for taking the wind out of our sails – rubbish!!.
    Rochdale were getting the better of us in the 2nd half long before Muto went off – Muto who done very little throughout the game anyway – and why take a forward off and put a midfielder on if you want to go after them.


  16. That’s good then Kimtoon. I’m off to the Grand Canyon that week. Will be on a plane back home for the Chelsea game which is a blessing.


  17. Bruce is not brave enough to be a good manager. In his subs he went for experience over horses for courses. When Muto went off he should have played an under23 striker. The game and opposition dictate to Bruce and Bruce is incapable of getting on top of it. Someone said sometime ago that he often looked like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Alright Joelinton had a shocker but how come the whole team fell apart in the second half.


  18. I watched Chris Wilders interview again his Sheff Utd side lost 2-0 to Liverpool and as well as his side are doing this season – and it’s no shame to get beat 2-0 at Anfield.

    He still criticised his players – or spoke positively or the Liverpool players – saying that they worked harder than his players. They ran harder, won first and second balls and wanted it more.

    He was right. If Wilder can say that about his players after Liverpool, Bruce should be steaming with his players after that 2nd half performance.

    Not a word about our traveling fans who were brilliant today and supported the team to the end.


  19. I was ranting about Nickson earlier last year and a few weeks ago. Then, after our poor results I looked up his credentials for the job of de facto Director of Football. He was the U21 scout until 2017. It is like appointing Ole Gunner Solskaer to Manage Man U. There is just nothing on his CV to say he can do the job. No youth players came through when he was U21 scout.

    And that’s why we end up with Joelinton, because Fatty appoints a novice with a failed track record to run the recruitment. We all tried to give Joe the benefit of the doubt. I wondered if he was playing out of position, that they were trying to shoehorn him into a role he had never played, that he had to get used to a new country and language. He has showed a few signs, but not enough. Maybe he is just sh!t and Nickson has been promoted above his talent. But I will say it again, I bet he came cheap.


  20. Groucho:
    Bruce is not brave enough to be a good manager. In his subs he went for experience over horses for courses. When Muto went off he should have played an under23 striker. The game and opposition dictate to Bruce and Bruce is incapable of getting on top of it. Someone said sometime ago that he often looked like a rabbit trapped in the headlights. Alright Joelinton had a shocker but how come the whole team fell apart in the second half.

    Groucho – we should have been 3-0 by half time mate. Joelinton had 2 clean cut chances and Muto hit one straight at the keeper.

    Our forwards have been hopeless all season – what has Bruce done about it?!.


  21. I’ve tried to be fair this season because it was an up hill battle for Bruce or any manager they brought in. But Bruce it was.
    He didn’t get a full pre season with the players, he didn’t get a say in the transfer window – with the £40m Joelinton brought in before Bruce.

    I have said that I thought survival would be a minor miracle all things considered – so that being the case I expect to struggle and scrap passed PL side – with a hope that we accrue enough points to stay up.
    I obviously want a lot more than for my club – but what I want and what I expect under Ashley are vastly different.

    My hope when Bruce was named, was that him being a Geordie and this being a dream appointment for him, we’d at least see the players working hard for the fans and the shirt they wear.

    I didn’t see that in the 2nd half today, and there have been games like Norwich and Leicester this season.
    As much as I may not have enjoyed some of the football under Rafa – there weren’t many games where I could say that.


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