Newcastle United hint on Loris Karius, Eddie Howe's injury concern – what we learnt from Carabao Cup media day
The club held a media day at its training ground ahead of Sunday’s visit to Wembley – and here’s what we learnt from the event.
In Karius we trust
Howe won’t yet name his goalkeeper for the final, but it seems certain that Loris Karius will make his Newcastle debut at Wembley following Nick Pope’s weekend dismissal against Liverpool.
Howe spoke about Karius’ “incredible experience” when asked about the readiness of the 29-year-old – who has only played 45 minutes of a friendly this season – and Mark Gillespie to play if selected.
United’s head said said he had “no doubts” Karius could “handle the occasion”.
“They’ve had a lot of training games,” said Howe. “They’re involved in everything. What they need to do, they’ve got it there. They just haven’t had that crowd in front of them when they do it. That’s the only difference.
“Loris, for example, has got incredible experience. I’ve no doubts he can handle the occasion.”
Howe added: “With Loris, I had a chat with him on Saturday night. He was great, very relaxed. That’s the kind of guy he is, a very cool customer.”
Howe is keen to have as normal a week as possible ahead of the final.
The team isn’t going to London early, and Howe and his players will, as they would do normally for a game in the capital, travel the day before the game.
However, there was one change to the schedule. There won’t be the usual Friday morning press conference ahead of the game, with the club having instead held a media day yesterday at which Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn and Sean Longstaff spoke.
Howe and the players were relaxed as they spoke about the final – and what it meant to them individually and collectively.
"We're keen to get the majority of the work done that's not focused on the game (media interviews), so I can focus on the football and the tactical side,” said Howe.
"It will be a normal preparation in terms of our training week. We’ll make our way to Wembley as we would do the day before the game.”
Where there’s a Will
Howe – who will welcome back Bruno Guimaraes from a three-game suspension – has one main injury concern ahead of the final.
Guimaraes’ fellow midfielder Joe Willock is “touch and go” for the game with the hamstring injury he suffered against Bournemouth earlier this month.
And that seemingly points to a substitute’s role, at best, for the 23-year-old at Wembley.
"Joe Willock will probably be touch and go during the week,” said Howe. “He’s improved, (it will) probably be a late decision on him.”
Matt Targett, sidelined since December with a heel problem, could be involved.
“Certainly, Matt Targett’s improved a lot,” said Howe. “He had a game (for the Under-21s) at the weekend. We thought it was wise to leave him out of the game, and really pleased with his fitness. I was really pleased with what he did, so I’d say yeah, he’ll be available for selection.”