'No-one wants to lose to bloody Rochdale' – Steve Bruce keen to break the Newcastle United FA Cup mould under Mike Ashley
“No-one wants to lose to bloody Rochdale.”
Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is keen for his time on Tyneside not to be tainted with yet another early FA Cup exit to lower league opposition.
The Magpies have lost to the likes of Oxford, Stevenage, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff and Brighton (when a Championship side) in recent years with their remarkable run of not making an FA Cup fifth round under Mike Ashley actually stretching back to 2006.
For a club with such a remarkable history in the competition – six times winners – Bruce accepts recent years have been nowhere near good enough.
And since getting the job on his native Tyneside, Bruce has said he will prioritise the cup, even though his predecessors did not.
“When I walked through the door I said we’d have a crack at it, so we’ll be as strong as we possibly can and see if we can have a run, why not?” said Bruce.
“No-one wants to lose to bloody Rochdale, that’s for sure. However, the FA Cup is the FA Cup and that’s the beauty of it, we’ve seen it over the years.
“Newcastle, in recent years, have not gone far enough.”
United were involved in quite possibly the greatest FA Cup upset of all time back in 1972 – yes, that one.
Bruce wants no repeat this weekend.
"I remember it was a midweek game, I was still at school. Everyone talks about Ronnie Radford, but he didn’t score the winner, it was Ricky George," said Bruce of that Hereford loss.
“We’ll try our best in this competition. I don’t want to be that (the manager who loses to Rochdale), why should I be?
“It is five games. Newcastle on a cup run can only help everyone. You need to be kind. The big teams still seem to win it. It would be interesting to see the stats on that.
“I will field the strongest side I possibly can. If this was a Premier League game it would be the same.”
Hinting at a very strong team, Bruce revealed he will pick Martin Dubravka and resist the temptation to change in goal.
He said: “I will stick with the goalie.”