Eddie Howe's Newcastle United FA Cup team hint as Martin Dubravka returns to fold
Howe’s side are in the middle of a demanding run of Premier League and cup games, and a number of players are in contention to come into the starting XI against the League One club at Hillsbrough.
One contender is goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who was recalled from a loan at Manchester United this week.
The likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Jacob Murphy, Jamal Lewis, Matt RItchie and Elliot Anderson, all named as substitutes for Tuesday night’s game against Arsenal at the Emirates, are contenders to play against Wednesday.
However, Howe, while keen to give more players opportunities to play, wants to get the “balance” of his team right at Hillsborough.
Asked if he would be making changes, Howe said: "Possibly. I haven’t picked the team yet. I want to see how the lads are physically today.
"Yeah, we’ve got a good squad. I think you always (want to give) people opportunities to play and stake their own claims to play more regularly in the Premier League.
"But you’ve got to get the balance right between making changes and truing to win the game, and we don’t want to lose our rhythm and the fundamental principles of our performance, so let’s wait and see.”
Dubravka was on the bench at the Emirates Stadium after asking to return to Newcastle last month, and the goalkeeper, cup-tied for next week’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Leicester City, could make his first United appearance since May last year in the third-round fixture.
“He looks fine in the very brief bits of training we’ve seen with Martin, because he hasn’t been back long,” said Howe. “He’s done very well.”
Howe now now has five senior goalkeepers, and there could be departures from a “top-heavy” goalkeeping department in this month’s transfer window.
“That’s something we’ll have to decide as the window unfolds,” said Howe.
"I think Martin’s return is slightly unexpected, and gives us probably top-heavy goalkeeping department in terms of numbers, so let’s see what happens with that.”