Steve Bruce drops Newcastle United selection hint ahead of Carabao Cup tie with Burnley
Steve Bruce has promised to take Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup campaign seriously as he prepares to ring the changes against Burnley.
The Magpies welcome Sean Dyche’s side to St James’s Park on Wednesday evening on the back of reaching the quarter-finals stage last year.
Bruce hopes to go “a couple of steps further” than previous seasons, which included a last-eight defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup.
And he’ll approach the second round clash with the Clarets by making changes, meaning the likes of Joelinton, Ryan Fraser, Jamal Lewis and Jeff Hendrick are in line start.
Bruce said: “It is a cup competition. People are chomping at the bit to play. We have got 12/13 players who are not playing on a Saturday. This is the ideal opportunity for them to play.
"We will take the cup seriously, like I always have done since I have been here.”
Although key attackers Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson are expected to be rested, Bruce confirmed his intention to hand Joe Willock game time.
The midfielder barely featured for Arsenal in pre-season before playing 90 minutes in United’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa.
Bruce added: "It's fair to say that Joe didn't have a lot of minutes in pre-season but he's young and he needs that. We'll get some minutes into Joe, that's for sure. That goes for a lot of the squad too.
"That’s why we carry a squad the way we do now and we’ll see changes up and down the country because it’s an ideal opportunity to get some minutes into your squad by playing competitive football and also put a marker down to play on Saturday.
"We will make changes but we’ll be very strong.”
Bruce’s men suffered a disappointing exit to then Championship side Brentford last year.
“We have been to two quarter finals in the last two years,” Bruce repeated. “Unfortunately, we drew Man City in one and performed badly in the other.
“But you have to get through the early rounds to get into the later ones where it comes to life.
“There is nothing better than a cup run.
“Let's hope we can go a couple of steps further than we have done in the last couple of years.”