Callum Wilson return, system and tactics tweaked, January transfer plans: Key priorities for Newcastle United during international break
Newcastle United have 12 days until their next match, here’s how they can use their time wisely.
Defeat against Wolves on Saturday made it eight games without a win in all competitions so far for Newcastle this season.
Pressure is building on Steve Bruce to turn fortunes at St James’s Park around and he now has a golden opportunity to do so.
With 12 days between now and their clash with Tottenham Hotspur , there is plenty of good work Newcastle can do in order to drag themselves out of relegation trouble.
Decide on a defensive system
Newcastle played all of pre-season with a back five. They started this campaign with the same system, but abandoned it during their clash with Leeds United.
Games against Watford and Wolves saw them line-up with a back four, but midway through Saturday’s game, they once again reverted to a five.
Whether they want to play with a four or a five is pretty much irrelevant, although stats show they tend to perform better in a four.
Emil Krafth, Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar, who have all been bit-part players this season, are the only defenders away on international duty this week - giving Steve Bruce and his coaching staff the perfect opportunity to perfect their chosen system.
Ensure Callum Wilson’s recovery is managed perfectly
We all know what a huge miss Wilson has been this season but Newcastle can ill-afford to rush him back into the starting side.
It may look appealing to throw Wilson in against Spurs, however, they must resist that temptation and instead only use the striker when he is 100% fit.
As much as Newcastle need points urgently, they need a fully-fit Wilson, who is able to play the rest of the season, more.
Use their time effectively
Bruce came in for criticism for going on holiday during the last international break, despite this, he described his side’s preparation for the clash against Manchester United as ‘meticulous’.
This time around, there are no breaks scheduled, meaning Newcastle simply must use every minute available to them to prepare for the tricky visit of Spurs.
Bruce and the players are slowly running out of excuses as the need for points escalates, they must use their time this week and next to ensure a positive result against Tottenham Hotspur.
Solidify January plans
Last season, a late flourish from a Joe Willock-inspired Newcastle saw them reach Premier League safety.
This campaign, it’s likely that they will enter the January window with less points than they did last season, meaning that they cannot afford to wait until the end of the window to bring in new recruits.
Newcastle could do a lot worse than solidifying their January plans in this break so that they are ready to hit the ground running in the new year.
Give youth a chance
The team needs a spark to get their season going - giving one or two youngsters the opportunity to shine could be exactly what they need.
Elliot Anderson and Joe White have both made appearances on the Newcastle bench this season, but are yet to taste first-team action.
With Wilson injured, Dwight Gayle seemingly out of favour and Joelinton still not-firing in goals, could Anderson or White be the men to change Newcastle’s fortunes?