Steve Bruce 'concerned' with lack of Newcastle United attacking options as he turns to Yoshinori Muto to lead line
Yoshinori Muto can stake a Premier League claim tonight – with the Japan international set to leas the Newcastle United line in the absence of Joelinton.
But head coach Steve Bruce does admit he has concerns about the attacking options available in his Magpies squad.
United head into their Carabao Cup second round tie against Leicester City at St James’s Park tonight without their Brazilian No.9 as well as injured Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle.
And while Bruce is looking forward to seeing Muto in action, he’s also worried about options in the final third.
"I was very impressed with him when he played against West Ham pre-season,” Bruce said of £9million Rafa Benitez signing Muto.
“It's his opportunity. I hadn't seen Christian Atsu for example until last Wednesday. He'd come back injured from the African National and all of a sudden in his first training session I thought, he's a very good player. Terrific. Good. He did very well.
“I need to see Muto go and play. I don't think Muto has had the game time which he probably has had not enough of when I'm looking at the statistics of what I've seen in front of me on my desk.”
Bruce is likely to field a much-changed United XI from the one that heroically claimed three Premier League points at Spurs on Sunday – but that does not mean he’s adopted a change in approach for the competition.
“Obviously the situation we find ourselves in with Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle, in particular, and now Allan Saint-Maximin, it's a big risk to risk Jo for a start and also the thing with Almiron as well. He's got a bit of an ankle and all,” he said.
“They're my biggest concerns because I haven't really got much at the top end of the pitch at the minute because of the absence of Saint-Maximin, Dwight and Andy Carroll.
“Everywhere else, we've got enough. We've got enough experienced players. Let's be fair, we've got three or four who did even made the squad. People like Jack Colback. We've got enough to take it serious against a good Leicester side.”