The Chronicle report that Jonjo Shelvey has now joined Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie as a slight doubt for tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final with Man City, with all three set to face late fitness tests.
They report that Bruce is set to make a decision on Shelvey today after he picked up a knock in our 1-1 draw with Aston Villa in midweek.
The Chronicle also claim Nabil Bentaleb is suspended after being booked in our last two FA Cup clashes with West Brom and Oxford, meaning Bruce could have a midfield crisis on his hands should Shelvey AND Hayden miss out tomorrow.
Both Longstaff brothers are back in training and could feature, but they are way short on match practice and seem unlikely to start.
Sean has played 11 minutes of competitive football since February (also missing our behind-closed-doors games before the season returned) and Matty hasn’t played a minute for the first-team since January, so Bruce will be reluctant to start either. Especially when Matty’s future remains up in the air.
Many – including myself – were surprised that Bruce played an unchanged team from the one that beat Sheffield United a week ago and his gamble appears to have backfired.
We could have comfortably played the likes of Lazaro, Bentaleb, Gayle, Schar and Yedlin from the start against Villa and had just as good a chance of winning the game, especially when these players would’ve been fresher and eager to impress.
Fortunately for us, City also have a couple out of contention as Aguero is injured and Fernandinho is suspended following his red card against Chelsea, although I think they can cope with a couple missing slightly better than us with the squad they have!