Former Mag Steve Howey is backing Sean Longstaff to come in from the cold and fill the void left by an injured Isaac Hayden this weekend.
Tough tackling midfielder Hayden was stretchered off against Brighton to pile more misery onto our treatment table, with a freak knee injury meaning he will be out of action for the rest of the season.
Jeff Hendrick was the man to replace Hayden at The Amex 10 days ago, but his selection would hardly inspire Toon supporters ahead of the game against Tottenham – yet it seems the most likely option given how Bruce has frozen out both Longstaff brothers since the turn of the year.
Nevertheless, former defender Howey has thrown Sean Longstaff’s name into the mix when speaking to Football Fancast ahead of Sunday’s game:
“I’d probably say Sean Longstaff because I think he’s got a good range of passing, but I think both the Longstaffs will feel as though their noses have been well and truly pushed out.
“So they’re obviously not going to be happy with the current situation but if one of them does get a chance it’s a case of right, ‘I’ll show you’ and it’s up to them to prove to Bruce that he was wrong to leave them out.”
From the outside looking in, and without having any inside knowledge, it would appear that Bruce has fallen out with the Longstaff’s, with older brother Sean playing just 14 minutes in two months – hardly ideal preparation for a game against a Jose Mourinho side.
It seems like the fight for a starting berth is a straight shoot-out between the pair and Hendrick, and none of our options fill me with a great deal of confidence.
Given the fact whoever plays will be lining up alongside the immobile Jonjo Shelvey, I would probably have to agree with Howey by going with either of the Longstaff’s because of the energy and legs they can bring to the team.
Sadly, it’s Steve Bruce who will make that call on Sunday and many fear he’ll opt for Hendrick.