With kick off fast approaching ahead of tonight’s FA Cup replay at St James’ Park, all we’re left to ponder is the team Steve Bruce will pick to face Rochdale.
In the first leg, the following side started: (3-4-1-2) Dubravka – Krafth, Fernandez, Hayden – Yedlin, S.Longstaff, M.Longstaff, Atsu – Almiron – Joelinton, Muto.
Tonight, we think this could be something like the side that lines up to face the League One side come 7.45pm:
Predicted NUFC XI – (3-4-3): Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles, Lejeune – Yedlin, Hayden, M Longstaff, Ritchie – Atsu, Joelinton, Almiron.
OUT – Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Willems, S Longstaff, Gayle?
IN – Lascelles, Krafth, Lejeune, Yedlin, Richie, Atsu?
No U-23’s are included in our predicted line up, but with Ludwig Francilette, Tom Allan, Lewis Cass and Elias Sorensen expected to make Bruce’s squad, it’ll be interesting to see if any start.
At the back, Dubravka seems likely to continue in goal, while Lascelles has been tipped to return from a long-term knee injury after resuming training this week.
With Dummett and Schar both our injured, it seems like a toss up between Lejeune and Clark for that left-sided centre-back slot.
On the right-hand side of a back three, Emil Krafth could well start after slotting in comfortably enough during the first tie at Spotland.
At wing-back, Yedlin (who’s returned to training this week) could play after his pace caused Rochdale real problems last time out, while Matt Ritchie looks likely to also play out wide ahead of his first start since August.
In midfield, we could see Hayden partner one of the Longstaff’s, with Shelvey and Ki expected to miss out once again.
Christian Atsu looks nailed on to start given his lack of game time in the league and fact he caused them all sorts of problems in the first half at Spotland.
Up top, Joelinton could be handed a chance to score his first goal at St James’ Park and gain a much needed confidence boost, while Miguel Almiron may be forced to play again in Saint-Maximin’s absenece.
Carroll is fit again, but he may be saved for Saturday’s Premier League visit of Chelsea – especially when he’s rarely played twice in a week by Bruce.
Muto would’ve no doubt started if fit, but he appeared to miss training this week, meaning he and Gayle could be forced to sit out this one.
What team would you like to see us go with tonight?
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