Newcastle have a golden chance to reach the FA Cup fifth round when they take on Oxford United.
While no opponent should be taken lightly, Newcastle have got a home tie against a third tier side. It’s a favourable draw, but Steve Bruce still must pick a strong side capable of getting the job done.
Schar back in
Fabian Schar has had to settle for a role on the bench since his return to fitness. He came on against Everton and impressed, but in a slightly different role.
The Swiss defender operated in midfield, but he’ll revert to centre-back in the FA Cup.
However, Newcastle’s latest hero Florian Lejeune will miss the Oxford clash due to injury. Therefore, it’ll likely be Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark joining Schar in defence, as Fernandez deserves a rest.
With Emil Krafth ruled out and no word on DeAndre Yedlin’s fitness, Isaac Hayden might have to continue at right wing-back.
More rest for Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey sat on the bench during Newcastle’s 2-2 draw with Everton, with Bruce claiming the midfielder didn’t feel right in the warm up.
If that’s the case, Bruce should consider keeping him on the bench again. Sean Longstaff is more than capable, while it’s the perfect opportunity to hand Nabil Bentaleb his debut.
Saint-Maximin to start
Ahead of the game, Bruce confirmed that Allan Saint-Maximin will be involved.
He was missed on Tuesday night, and we expect Bruce to go with his strongest front three, with the Frenchman starting alongside Joelinton and Miguel Almiron.
Predicted lineup to face Oxford: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Clark; Hayden, S. Longstaff, Bentaleb, Ritchie; Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.