Ahead of the 2019/20 season, both Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley said that Newcastle United were fully committed to the cup competitions for that coming season and moving forward..
The NUFC Head Coach pledging to play his strongest possible team in the League Cup and FA Cup.
However, only weeks into that new 2019/20 season, Newcastle were knocked out of the League Cup at their first opportunity (second round), Leicester won after making only two changes from their Premier League team of the previous match, Steve Bruce making seven changes as the Magpies bowed out.
Now we are once again at the second round stage of the League Cup, with Steve Bruce having to pick a team to take on Blackburn.
The NUFC Head Coach has named three changes he is definitely making but has indicated that there will be a lot more on top.
As you can see from the quotes below, Steve Bruce says that both Ciaran Clark and Ryan Fraser will be in the eleven tomorrow night, whilst when talking to BBC Newcastle earlier today, Bruce stated that Mark Gillespie and not Karl Darlow would play in goal.
The message on the cups isn’t as over the top this time as it was by Steve Bruce before that knockout by Leicester, no pretending that Newcastle are going to play their very strongest team in the cup competitions every round. Steve Bruce saying: ‘We’ll take it seriously but the competition is condensed by seven weeks so we’ll play a lot of games in a short period of time. I had seven (substitutes) behind me on Saturday who all played in the team last season. I have a squad and I will make changes and when I look at what I’ve got in strength then I still expect us to get through.’
With numerous changes to be made, if by chance Newcastle are knocked out by Blackburn, then Steve Bruce will know he will have criticism coming his way, quite rightly.
It was revealed today that Mike Ashley has engaged some top Barristers to take action against the Premier League regarding the takeover situation.
Fair to say that the club’s owner will very much see both that and Newcastle United staying in the Premier League (which is essential as well for a takeover to be able to go through, as otherwise no chance of Ashley getting the inflated price the Saudis were prepared to pay) as the two priorities for the foreseeable future, Steve Bruce very much aware of that no doubt when making his cup selections
Steve Bruce talking at his pre-Blackburn press conference:
“Ryan Fraser will make his debut.
“Ciaran Clark will play who hasn’t played for a long time and there’s some players who need a game but the squad is big enough to make those changes and let’s hope we can get through to the next round.
“We’ll take it seriously but the competition is condensed by seven weeks so we’ll play a lot of games in a short period of time. I had seven (substitutes) behind me on Saturday who all played in the team last season.
“I have a squad and I will make changes and when I look at what I’ve got in strength then I still expect us to get through.
“I think that will be vitally important for the players who haven’t played.
“The one thing we’ve struggled with, since I’ve been at the club, is playing the amount of games over Christmas last year and playing Saturday, Tuesday and Saturday.
“We struggled with that, and towards the back end of lockdown, so we will be making changes but I still expect us to be getting into the next round.”
Steve Bruce reflecting on winning at West Ham:
“There’s nothing better for anybody to go away from home and win, especially in the Premier League, because we know how difficult it is.
“It wasn’t just the victory that pleased me, it was the way we went about it.
“With the three new faces in the squad, it looked like they’d been there for years, never mind a week, which pleased me and all three had wonderful debuts. All in all, we’ve had a decent start but we won’t get too carried away after one result because there is still a long way to go.
“We felt that we need people who come and in and don’t have a problem with language, settling into this country or getting into the Premier League.
“Can we have people who can hit the ground running straight away?
“When you sign the personalities we have done along with the ability they have – I’m delighted they’ve come into the club and they gave everyone a lift at the right time, which was good to see.”