In what could be a Premier League fixture next season, Newcastle United travel to West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday evening.
For the first time this Millennium, the round of 16 is being played midweek as a result of the mini Premier League winter break and with Euro 2020 taking place at the end of the season.
Following our 0-0 draw on Saturday, we are without a win in our last five Premier League games and have failed to score in each of the last four, since Florian Lejeune’s dramatic brace in stoppage time during our 2-2 draw away to Everton on Tuesday 21 January – our last midweek outing.
Meanwhile, West Brom are top of the Championship with a six-point lead over Fulham down in third place, with 10 games to go. The Baggies have a challenging trip to Swansea City on Saturday.
The second-tier side head into this FA Cup tie having been shocked at home by Wigan Athletic over the weekend. They fell 0-1 to the side that started the day in the relegation zone.
In fact, West Brom are better as an away team rather than at home, so perhaps a trip to the Hawthorns midweek is better for us than playing at home. For those who fancy the trip down south, you can compare tickets from dozens of ticket sites on SeatPick. Despite being top of the Championship, they have won just two of their last eight at home – drawing three, losing three. Whereas they have the best away record in the country.
Both of their FA Cup wins have come on the road too – 1-0 away to Charlton Athletic in the third round and then beating West Ham United by the same scoreline at the end of January.
Victory over the Hammers was particularly impressive as manager Slaven Bilic largely rotated his squad for the trip to East London. Backup goalkeeper Jonathan Bond made a rare start in the trip to the London stadium. The 26-year-old hasn’t featured in the Championship this season and his only season as a regular was with Peterborough in League One two seasons ago.
Semi Ajayi was the only regular defender who played in their back four that day, though he was partnered by Ahmed Hegazi – who has Premier League experience with the Baggies. Albeit relegation experience. Ajayi was sent off with 20 minutes to go which makes West Ham’s elimination all the more humiliating.
The experienced Gareth Barry can be expected to face us too – the 39-year-old has made just one league start this season. He was partnered by 35-year-old Chris Brunt at West Ham. The Northern Ireland international has yet to start a game in the league. Filip Krovinovic made up the central midfield three – the Croatian has been in and out of the starting lineup this season. Youngster Kyle Edwards played on the left wing and Matt Phillips on the right. Phillips could pose us a threat down the wing – he has seven goals and six assists as a regular in the West Brom first team this season.
Charlie Austin was the sole striker versus West Ham. He’s made just 13 starts in the Championship this season, with another 13 appearances from the bench. Although he does have eight goals to his name, he has been very reliant on spot kicks to get to this tally.
Should Bilic name a similar team to face us on Tuesday night then Steve Bruce and our fans must be confident in booking our place in Wednesday’s draw for the quarter-finals. Those not attending the game can follow the FA Cup live on TV and the internet, for live footage or updates.