Newcastle United star makes ‘unbelievable’ deadline day prediction
Newcastle take a slender 1-0 lead into the tie after beating Southampton at St Mary's thanks to a second half strike from Joelinton. The Magpies have not lost a match at St James’s Park since last April and will need that record to continue in order to guarantee a place in the final at Wembley Stadium next month.
United midfielder Sean Longstaff was only one when the club reached its last major cup final in 1999. And is now hoping to help the side make history under Eddie Howe when they host Southampton on deadline day of the January transfer window.
“It's something that if you'd told us just over a year ago that we'd be third in the league and in a cup semi-final, I probably would have laughed but it has been a great year,” said the 25-year-old. “Taking something back up to St James's Park, I think it will be an unbelievable second leg and the atmosphere, I was trying to explain to the lads what it will be like.
"Even I probably don't understand what it's going to be like so we're just really excited and it's an occasion that the players, fans and everyone can really look forward to.”
It will be a sell-out crowd at St James's Park on Tuesday, as it has been for each of the previous home fixtures in this season’s competition. Although Longstaff insists the players aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves, they are ‘quietly confident’ they can finish the job on Tuesday in front of the home fans.
“As a team we're a mellow group and don't get too far ahead of ourselves,” he added. “It's a massive occasion for everyone, we've had boys who have played in big games and boys who haven't so it's something we can all look forward to and we're quietly confident in ourselves to get through.”
Longstaff is one of several boyhood Newcastle fans in the squad, along with Dan Burn, Paul Dummett, Elliot Anderson, Jacob Murphy and Mark Gillespie. And when asked if he feels any extra responsibility to stress to his team-mates what winning a cup would mean to the fans and the city, Longstaff told The Gazette: “Yeah, a little bit but I tend to leave that sort of stuff to Burnie to be fair!
"He probably knows a bit more than me but for me, even being from Newcastle, it's something that you know, I can't remember the last time we were in a semi-final to be honest so you know it's going to be really special.
"I've had so many people ask for tickets and stuff and it's really nice to be honest. With the cup we're really looking forward to the game, it's going to be tough.
"But with a night time game at St James's Park and the atmosphere, I could be something really special and something we haven't seen in so many years.”