Steve Bruce has confirmed that Christian Atsu will start at Oxford tonight, with Allan Saint Maximin set to be rested ahead of our FA Cup replay at the Kassam Stadium.
The NUFC boss confirmed yesterday that Schar, Lejeune and both Longstaff’s will play tonight, and it seems Atsu is the latest player that’s set to start.
Speaking to BBC Newcastle’s Matthew Raisbeck, Bruce said:
“Christian started the season very, very well.
“He has been a bit frustrated because of Saint-Maximin… but, it’s an opportunity for him, and let’s hope he grasps it.”
Bruce is of course referring to the excellent assist Atsu got at Spurs for Joelinton’s solitary league goal, and then there were some promising performances in spells at Liverpool and against Man City – with him playing a big part in our goals in both games.
He’s actually joint top for assists on 4 along with Andy Carroll. We all know he’ll never be a top player but he’s been a good pro for Newcastle.
Regarding Allan Saint Maximin, it’s disappointing that one of our most exciting talents won’t play tonight in what is a great chance to progress, but it’s probably the right decision as he hasn’t looked fully fit in the last 2 games.
With the extended break coming up it might give him a chance to get back to his physical best, which we all want to see, and frankly need.