With the Slovakian stopper set to be rested, Darlow looks set to start with Elliot taking a rare place on the bench, but Jack Young’s potential involvement could be the biggest surprise.
He may not feature, but the fact he – alongside Tom Allan – has travelled with the first-team squad goes to show how much he’s been impressing Bruce at U-23 level:
The diminutive blonde-haired midfielder is in the Matty Longstaff mould, being a local lad who’s been tipped to burst onto the first-team scene at some stage after several stand out displays in the second string.
He’s played 17 times for the U-23’s this season – bagging a goal and 2 assists in the process – and has recently signed his first pro deal with the club after making the step up from U-18 level (where he excelled) to our U-23’s just last year.
Here’s a snippet from his player profile on NUFC.co.uk:
“Jack, who plays as a central midfielder, joined United’s Academy at the age of seven and has worked his way through Newcastle’s youth ranks before making his debut for the under-23 squad at the age of 17.
“Jack, who is a boyhood Newcastle supporter, currently lives in Morpeth and identifies Steven Gerrard as his footballing idol.”
In December, Young, discussing the under-23’s style of play, told nufc.co.uk: “We are best when we have the ball so it’s very good to see us causing problems for other teams in attack.”
One to watch tonight? He may not feature, but the fact he’s travelling with the first team squad just a few months into his first year at U-23 level says a lot about his recent progress.
As for Dubravka, we’ve relied on him saving our bacon on far too many occasions this season – so let’s hope Darlow can step up in his absence to see us into the last 16 tonight.