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

After a second half collapse at Spotland, we return to St James’s Park for an FA Cup replay against Rochdale that we really could’ve done without.

Some may argue that it’s a chance to build confidence for several out of form players, but with so many injuries and a tough game against Chelsea awaiting in just a few days time, Bruce will be hoping we come through this unscathed and put our name in the fourth round of the FA Cup, with a winnable home tie with Oxford awaiting.

Rochdale will have come away from our first encounter feeling they could have won it late on, but, if the truth be told, we absolutely dominated in the first half and should have put the game out of sight.

Instead we took a 0-1 lead into the break and gave Rochdale that glimmer of hope they desperately needed heading into the break. That cant happen this time around.

We must take our chances when they come and stay focused and hungry for the entire 90 – not just the first 45.

Predicted XI

Starting at the back, skipper Jamaal Lascelles is back, but Dummett and Schar will miss out with muscle injuries.

I don’t see Bruce playing recently injured Ciaran Clark twice in four days, so wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Lejeune, Lascelles and Krafth in a three-man defence, with the latter playing on the right-side of a back three at Rochdale.

At wing-back, Ritchie looks set to return – which will be great to see – while I’d expect Yedlin to play down the right if he’s deemed fit enough to start. He missed out at Wolves but was pictured in training on Thursday, so hopefully he can make it given the problems he caused Rochdale in our first game.

In midfield, I get the feeling Matty Longstaff may be slightly more ready and capable of playing than brother Sean, so I can see him partnering Hayden in the middle.

Out wide, Atsu seems highly likely to start. He was woeful at Wolves, but tore Rochdale’s right-back to shreds in the opening half an hour at Spotland. Miguel Almiron could also play if deemed fit enough, but the likes of Tom Allan will be on standby if Bruce feels starting the Paraguayan would be too much of a risk after his all action display at Wolves over the weekend.

Up top, I can see Joelinton getting a chance to gain a much needed confidence boost via a goal or two IF his groin is fine. He trained on Thursday and, with Gayle out, Muto still missing (by the looks of yesterday’s Thursday’s photos) and Carroll likely to be saved for Chelsea, I can see the Brazilian getting the nod. He’s yet to score at St James’ Park, so I can see Bruce giving him his chance to get that monkey off his back.

Put a few past them in the first half and I can see the likes of Allan and Francilette coming on.

Predicted NUFC XI – (3-4-3): Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles, Lejeune – Yedlin, Hayden, M Longstaff, Ritchie – Atsu, Joelinton, Almiron.

The Opposition

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

Soccer Football – FA Cup – Third Round – Rochdale v Newcastle United – The Crown Oil Arena, Rochdale, Britain – January 4, 2020 Rochdale’s Aaron Wilbraham celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Aaron Wilbraham – The 40-year-old striker came on and changed the game for Rochdale at HT in our last meeting. Gave them a real physical presence up top and scored the equaliser that ultimately sent this one to a replay!

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. He played a key role in their equaliser last time out and did well to contain Atsu, who was tearing their starting RB apart early on but didn’t get much joy vs Matheson.

Team news

Matt Ritchie looks set to start for the first time since injuring his ankle ligaments back in August, while skipper Jamaal Lascelles has also been tipped to return by Steve Bruce.

The game will come too soon for Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Schar, Manquillo, Muto and Ki, but Krafth and Yedlin could return after training on Thursday.

Youngsters Francillette, Cass, Allan and Sorensen could feature after being spotted training with the senior team this week.


If we’d finished our chances in the first half at Rochdale we could’ve come away with a 1-3 or 1-4 win.

With that in mind, I’d back us to win this one fairly convincingly – but it’ll all come down to our ability to A) take them seriously as we did in the first 45 last time out and B) punish them when big opportunities come our way.

I think Bruce will field another strong side and we’ll win pretty comfortably.

Prediction: Newcastle 3-1 Rochdale

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at & we’ll get back to you!)

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.

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

  1. Why are we so apprehensive about this? We should sweep them aside. Then I remember we got beat by the opponent in the next round 3-0 a few years ago and didn’t we lose to Notts County at home in one of he Cups?

    At any normal PL club this would be a routine win.

    Crowd number should be interesting. There are cheap tickets but I checked the weather and leading up to the game it looks pretty miserable.


  2. Maybe we can flip the narrative and say this is a good opportunity to get some players that were injured or haven’t played much some gametime. Ritchie, Lascelles, Matty, Krafth. Better than a half hour for the U23s because it means something. The problem is that a League 1 team will probably be more physical but what is more physical than the PL league now! They certainly wont be as quick so our lot might just get a good run out.

    And Groucho’s mate needs all the practice he can get.


  3. Supposedly our scouts watched Joelinton 24 times. That would suggest that they also watched St Max quite a few times at Nice, or at least had full match videos. They would therefore have seen quite a lot of the other Nice player we are linked with. If he is any good I would go for it as we are desperate for an attacking midfielder. Hell, we are desperate for another midfielder full stop as we have so few options when Shelvey is injured. Long term it might be the Longstaffs but Sean’s form has been iffy and Matty is 19.

    I don’t think there is any value in buying a striker. Who is available that isn’t a complete shot in the dark? Better to get a loan in and not one of the failures at other clubs like Slimani. As I have said before, I would be on the phone to Man City and Liverpool. They have recruited the world’s top youngsters but because their first teams are so good they are not getting a chance. I bet they have someone better than Sorensen. If it means we stay in the PL I do not mind developing another teams young player.


  4. I know Lampard is promoting youth now but you must feel a bit sick as a Chelsea fan watching Liverpool and Man City. You had De Bruyne and Salah on your books and let them go after barely a year with no buy-back clause. It would almost be like us having a 20 year old Shearer and letting him go.


  5. Even though Newcastle is set to miss the worst of the storm I read you will still get high winds. That is probably good for Rochdale. It will probably be the lowest crowd for years as well.


  6. I have become some sort of weather guru. Was in Newcastle for 2 weeks in Nov and only 1 bad day. Then West Coast of Scotland and no rain. Seattle for a week last Christmas and no rain. That is unheard of. Yellowstone in October the day they close some of the roads and it was sunny and 20 degrees Celsius. They had 2 foot of snow the week before. Off to the Grand Canyon tomorrow. Forecast is sunny. You don’t really associate Arizona with snow but it is 7,000 feet up and they even have ski towns nearby. Last week they closed some of the Grand Canyon roads for snow.


  7. Olly: not criticizing, but we pretty much know who will be shipped out in the summer if not before. Darlow is really the only question.

    The more interesting scenario is who will we keep? Some you would have expected us to get rid of because of age or form might now stay. These are:


    Only a couple of months ago you would have bet the fat man would have wanted to get rid because he doesn’t like to pay veteran players and would sell whilst they still have value. Bit stupid if you ask me – imagine City selling Aguero just because he is 31. Players age differently. Kaka was done at 27.

    Then there’s the Longstaffs. Will they get new deals?

    And there is also Manquillo, who has been our best right back and deserves an extension. But would that mean giving up on Krafth?

    As I said, we all know who will be shipped out. It has been obvious for months. It is who has played themselves into a new deal that matters more.


  8. Miggyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    He scores when he wants 😉


  9. Listening on Radio Newcastle. Doesn’t sound like Rochdale are having a look in. Who should we take off at the half. Nice problem to have.


  10. Dubai Toon:
    Sounds like a canny first half. Why couldn’t they do this the first time … ?

    Very true , to be fair we were all over them first half with only the one goal last time. Lets hope we aren’t as **** 2nd half as last time.

    Eric, i would be subbing Almiron for sure, can’t risk an injury .


  11. There’s more to come from Miggy. Needs someone he feels sure he will stick it in the net. He would more often than not lay it off to Martinez at Atlanta and didn’t need to do everything himself. Joe needs to get a couple for his confidence now.


  12. Job should have been done at their place, but that’s a solid performance tonight. Great to see Ritchie back and playing well at LB. Williems has been outstanding for us & I hope we buy him – but Ritchie is a great pro and gives cover for a number of positions.

    Great that Mig got another – that’s 4 in 5 now I think so great for his confidence.
    Pleased for Joe tonight as well. He had a stinker in the first game so nice that he got his goal. In the same way as was with Miggy – I only want the lad to do well. He’s got to get going like Mig now though.

    Credit to Bruce as well. He’s put a strong side out in both games. We slaughter managers for not taking the cup runs seriously, but you can’t say that about Bruce ??‍♂️


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