Newcastle United hope to break club record set earlier this season as Eddie Howe offers warning
Most Newcastle fans won’t need reminding that the club have never won the League Cup and haven’t won a major domestic honour since 1955. But there’s a growing belief that the trophy drought could soon be over.
The Magpies currently sit third in the Premier League under the ambitious ownership led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. And for the first time in decades, Newcastle are considered among the favourites to win the League Cup.
Manchester City are the current favourites with bookmakers as Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool sit just behind them. The Magpies are the second highest ranked side left in the competition behind City, who host Liverpool in the fourth round.
But the Newcastle boss was keen not to get ahead of himself as he warned it was important ‘not to underestimate’ his former club Bournemouth.
“We've tried to give this game the same importance as a Premier League game,” Howe said. “For us it is [as important] because it's a chance to progress in a very important competition for us. That's how we approach the game.”
When asked if this is the most important League Cup game of his career, Howe responded: "It is an interesting question because people would probably think differently.
"But if you are a manager and sat here saying ‘well, we have had games in the past when we haven't given importance to it’, I am not sure I can sit here and ever say that.
"I have tried to win every game as a manager that we have ever played trying to win 100-per-cent to the best of my ability. Now sometimes you do pick different teams to try and achieve that goal, but I could never say I have not tried 100-per-cent to win every game I have managed. That is just inbuilt in me.”
Howe didn’t give too much away regarding his team selection with players such as Bruno Guimaraes, Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson back in contention following the World Cup break.
But Alexander Isak remains out while Allan Saint-Maximin is a slight doubt following Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over Rayo Vallecano.
“I want to win the game, desperate to win the game, desperate to progress, we want to stay in the competition, we want those extra games so that is our approach to the game,” Howe said regarding his team selection.
The home section of St James’s Park will be sold out for the second League Cup match running for Newcastle as they look to break their record home attendance for the competition set against Crystal Palace last month. "Incredible response from the supporters,” Howe added. “It doesn't surprise me. You just look at the friendly against Vallecano and the support we had in that game. Truly incredible numbers. I just go back to the Chelsea game, that was an incredible atmosphere. It was very difficult for the opposition to play in. Creating that type of environment was a two-way thing.
"We would love to get that feeling back straight away. That's going to depend on how we start the game."