After a long period without a game, Newcastle finally return to action with an FA Cup third round clash against Cambridge.
The Magpies haven’t played since the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 27th, with COVID and injuries disrupting the fixture list.
But Eddie Howe’s team can finally play again, and he’ll be looking for his second win as Toon boss at the expense of the League One side. But who will start in black and white?
Kieran Trippier makes his debut
Kieran Trippier became Newcastle’s first January signing on Friday, and we expect him to make his debut today.
Howe might as well get him in the team as soon as possible and allow him to integrate with his new teammates.
Javi Manquillo is suspended for the next Premier League game, so we expect him to start in the cup as a left-back, just like he did against Man United.
Newcastle are yet to sign a new centre-back, meaning Jamaal Lascelles and likely Fabian Schar will start in the middle.
Sean Longstaff starts despite Everton talk
This week Sean Longstaff has been linked with a move to Everton. He’s in the final six months of his contract, and his Newcastle future is on the line.
The 24-year-old impressed against Man United last time out, and deserves to keep his place in the starting XI.
Jonjo Shelvey has had fitness bother this season, so we expect Howe to rest the 29-year-old in favour of recalling Joe Willock to the team.
Chance for Elliot Anderson
This is perhaps out of hope rather than expectation, but it would be wonderful to see Elliot Anderson in the starting XI. Whether he plays out wide or as an attacking midfielder, the teenager deserves a chance in the FA Cup.
It was this stage of the competition where he made his Toon debut last year, and he deserves more minutes a year later.
Predicted XI vs Cambridge: Darlow; Trippier, Schar, Lascelles, Manquillo; Murphy, Longstaff, Willock, Almiron; Anderson, Joelinton.