Newcastle can make it a very successful nine days with a win against Southampton.

Steve Bruce’s side have bounced back from the Aston Villa defeat, picking up an unlikely four points against Manchester City and Sheffield United.

Southampton will present a different challenge though, having won two games in a row against relegation rivals Watford and Norwich.

But will Bruce make changes to the side after a hard-fought victory on Thursday night?

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Settled defence remains

Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune just can’t get a look in at the minute.

Newcastle’s three centre-backs have been rock solid in the past two games, meaning a return for either of the previously mentioned duo is unlikely. If Bruce does fancy a change, Schar is ready to come in, having sat on the bench for the past three games.

However, with how Newcastle have defended, it would be a risk to change things up despite Schar’s obviously quality.


No room for Longstaff

Sean Longstaff is yet to play a minute since returning from suspension. Unfortunately for him, Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden have been playing brilliantly together. Hayden has been his industrious best, while Shelvey is now a goal machine by the looks of it.

Longstaff will hopefully get some minutes off the bench against the Saints, as Shelvey and Hayden have got through some miles in the past two games and deserve a bit of a rest.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Carroll or Joelinton?

Bruce made the big call on Thursday to start Andy Carroll over Joelinton. The big man played a part in both goals, but was isolated up top on his own.

His last involvement was the assist for Shelvey, completing 70 minutes.

While he did okay, it seems too much to ask Carroll to start twice in four days. Therefore, Joelinton should be recalled to the starting XI, with the added motivation of knowing that Bruce isn’t scared to drop him.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Hopefully being dropped to the bench will give the Brazilian the kick up the backside he needs. Although as Carroll proved, whoever plays up top needs support from the wingers.

Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron put in a big shift at Bramall Lane, and Bruce may consider freshening things up by starting Christian Atsu. It’s an option, but one he probably won’t explore.

Predicted lineup to face Southampton: Dubravka; Fernandez, Clark, Dummett; Manquillo, Hayden, Shelvey, Willems; Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.

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