Newcastle United face a potential banana skin in the FA Cup Third Round against Luton Town this weekend, so Rafa Benitez needs to pick a side capable of avoiding embarrassment.
With Premier League safety far from certain, Benitez will certainly make changes for the cup tie, so who will make his starting XI?
Karl Darlow was back to his best against Stoke City, but he could be rested to give youngster Freddie Woodman a chance in between the sticks. Woodman is one of Newcastle’s best youth products, and the game against Luton is the perfect chance to give the youngster a piece of first team action.
Ciaran Clark may start to add experience at the heart of defence while Jamaal Lascelles takes a rest, and Benitez may see the FA Cup game as another chance for Paul Dummett to get back to full match fitness, having only just returned from injury.
Henri Saivet was a villain and a hero against West Ham but hasn’t been seen since, so either Benitez has been resting the midfielder for the big cup tie or he has no future at St James’ Park. Either way, the 27-year-old could feature on Saturday. Mo Diame is also a likely starter, having hit a bit of form ever since his goal against the Hammers.
Rolando Aarons should start on the left flank and could get some joy against Luton, having been part of the defensive operation against Manchester City over Christmas.
Goals have been the big problem for Newcastle this season, with Dwight Gayle not scoring as consistently as he did last campaign, so the chance to play against lower league defenders could allow last season’s top scorer a chance to get amongst the goals.
How do you think Newcastle will line up against Luton Town in the FA Cup Third Round?