The Newcastle boss has also confirmed a total of “four of five” youngsters will be involved with the senior side from this point onwards, stressing the importance of extending his squad where possible given the busy run of fixtures we’re set to face.
The others set to be called up are winger Tom Allan – who’s already featured in the cup this season – and blond-haired midfielder Jack Young, while The Athletic claim Elliot Anderson, goalkeeper Dan Langley and defender Lewis Cass are ‘among those who could provide cover’.
Speaking to NUFC TV, here’s what Steve Bruce has had to say about it all:
“The squad is healthy,”
“With the amount of games, I can’t stress rough we’re going to need all the squad, hence that’s why we’re bringing in the four or five young players to come and train with us.
“It’ll be very good for them as well and will make the numbers up. Once the competition starts, then of course it’s recovery and training for the other ones.“
“The two lads on loan (Barlaser and Watts), in particular, I was going to have another look at in pre-season,”
“We don’t even know when the next pre-season is going to be so I think it’s an ideal time to bring them into the squad.
“I’ve never seen Barlaser play – he’s had good reports down in Rotherham – so let’s give him the opportunity to come and train with the players and be a part of us going forward.
“It’s a good chance to have a look at them. That’s what we’re doing as far as them two are concerned.
“As I’ve said, they’ve both had successful loan spells out so let’s bring them in, have a look and see where they’re up to.”
Barlaser will be unable to play given he’s over the age of 21, cup-tied from his superb spell at Rotherham and not in Steve Bruce’s 25-man squad, however Watts will be, with the FIFA chiefs relaxing rules so that players can be registered at three different sides this season (Watts had played for Stevenage and Mansfield prior to his return).
As The Mail’s Craig Hope states below, it would be nice to see a few of our top U-23 talents feature over the final 9 games of the season – especially when our campaign threatens to fizzle out should we secure survival in the coming weeks.