Newcastle United v Rochdale: Key duo set to return ahead of FA Cup clash
Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is expecting to have captain Jamaal Lascelles and winger Matt Ritchie back for tonight's FA Cup third round replay with Rochdale at St James’s Park (KO 7.45pm).
Newcastle head into the game on the back of the point at Wolves at the weekend, but lost Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle due to injury during the game.
Bruce said in his pre-match press conference that Jonjo Shelvey and Allan Saint-Maximin are back in training but the game will come “too soon” for them.
He said: “Obviously Dummett and Gayle will have scans – they’ll not be involved.
“But we’ve got one or two back on the grass. Allan Saint-Maximin is back training – he’s trained for the last two days.
“I think [Tuesday] will be a bit early, the same goes for Shelvey, so instead of 12 or 13 we’ve probably got eight or nine (out), so things are looking up.”
Opponents Rochdale come into the game in mixed form, but are yet to lose in 2020.
They’ve won two of their last five games, the most recent win coming against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday - with goals coming from Luke Matheson and Jimmy Ryan.
Dale are likely to name a strong side, and have reverted to 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 formations in four of their last five games but they played a 4-4-2 formation in the game against Bolton at the weekend.
Despite the fact he may rotate tomorrow night Bruce - who took Hull City to the FA Cup final in 2014 - said his side will play “as strong as we can”.
“I’ve said since I walked through the door here that we will play as strong as we possibly can, and that’s not going to change,” he said.
“We’ve got a wonderful chance. We’ve got to dispatch Rochdale at home.
“They made it difficult for us in the second half. For me, the game should have been put to be in the first half, but it wasn’t, so we’ve got a replay to play and we’ll go as strong as we possibly can.”