Bruce reveals when Bentaleb could make debut – & shares update on Saint-Maximin & Carroll

Well, I’m sure many of you woke up this morning still in slight disbelief at what happened last night. I’ve watched the highlights about 20 times and still can’t quite grasp how we did it!

It’s been funny reading back and seeing all the criticism of Bruce’s substitutions last night. Of course a defender for a striker is not usually a good move when you’re losing, but the cold stark reality is that Bruce didn’t really have any other choice.

With Carroll, Gayle, Muto and Saint Maximin all unavailable, the attacking options on the bench consisted of U23 forward Tom Allan, who despite a lively cameo and assist against Rochdale isn’t ready for Premier League football.

Thankfully it seems there will be more options for this weekend’s home FA Cup game with Oxford United, with Bruce hinting at a debut for new boy Nabil Bentaleb and a return to action for Carroll, Saint-Maxmin, Shelvey and Yedlin – who all missed out at Goodison last night.

Speaking after last night’s game, Bruce said:

“I couldn’t play Saint-Maximin after seeing him yesterday so we left him behind.

We hope he’s available for Saturday.

Andy Carroll, DeAndre Yedlin and Nabil Bentaleb should be available too.”

“Joelinton was struggling with an injury and we had no strikers.

I didn’t want to put Jonjo on because he wasn’t right.

You would hope that even without Carroll and ASM we would be able to beat League One Oxford with the same front 3 as last night, but Joelinton and Atsu were very poor at Everton.

Yedlin has also been missed. Hayden was decent enough at Wolves, and scored the winner against Chelsea from RWB, but it isn’t his natural position, and he struggled last night. We also missed his tackling ability in central midfield as the Longstaff’s also both suffered poor nights and were completely over ran.

Oxford could also be the perfect opportunity to give Bentaleb his debut. He hasn’t played any competitive football since April 2019, and with all due respect to the visitors, it’s surely better to get minutes in his legs against League Ins opposition than throw him straight in to the Premier League.

Is it also too much to hope that we might have another new signing in by then?

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

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