Newcastle United vs Blackburn Rovers Preview: Magpies aiming for cup run to escape league woes
(Photo: Getty Images/Stu Forster

Newcastle United vs Blackburn Rovers Preview: Magpies aiming for cup run to escape league woes

Newcastle will be aiming to put their dismal home form behind themselves when they host Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup at St James’ Park on Saturday.

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Newcastle United will be aiming to put their dismal home form behind themselves when they host Blackburn Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies are joint-highest with Huddersfield in the Premier League for home defeats (8) but can improve spirits on Tyneside with a victory over Championship outfit Blackburn.

Rovers will take much optimism from their previous two encounters against Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle; having won both games in the 16/17 season 1-0.

Team News

Newcastle midfielder Mohamed Diame is ruled out due to a hip injury he picked up in the 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Wednesday.

Defensive duo Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez are not fit, while Yoshinori Muto joins Ki Seung-Yeung on Asia Cup duty.

Goalkeeper Karl Darlow remains injured which could open the door for Freddie Woodman to start, with youngsters Sean Longstaff and Jamie Sterry readily available, also.

Blackburn will be without the cup-tied Sam Hart and suspended Richie Smallwood, while Derrick Williams remains a doubt.

Elliott Bennett and Ryan Nyambe (hamstring) could be in contention, and loan pair Kasey Palmer and Harrison Reed have been given permission from their respective parent clubs to play.

Defender Ryan Nyambe and striker Joe Nuttall are both in contention to return for Rovers after injuries.

Key Clashes: Charlie Mulgrew V Joselu

Rafa Benitez has said he wants to rotate his squad for this fixture meaning Joselu could be set to replace Solomon Rondon in the Newcastle starting XI.

Joselu has only scored twice this season, scoring both goals with his head against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea respectively, and may perhaps flourish more against a side placed 15th in the Championship.

The big Spaniard stands 6’4” in stature and could cause Mulgrew and the Blackburn defence some trouble via Newcastle’s direct approach.

What the managers said

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez told BBC Sport: "For us, we have to approach the game trying to win with the best team possible that we can use, using at the same time players who have not been involved.

"They have to show something, they have to work hard, and I want to keep the good atmosphere in the dressing room.

"That means that players who don't have a chance in the Premier League, some of them will have a chance now, and they have to be ready to prove that they can play."

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Sport: "It is going to be a great test for us.

"We will prepare our team, I have no idea what Rafa [Benitez] sees of the FA Cup. If you were a Premier League team why wouldn't you keep going until you bump into a Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal or Tottenham?

"We'll be taking a fairly strong squad to Newcastle and try to give them a good game."

Expected line-ups:

Newcastle: Woodman; Dummett, Schar, Lascelles, Manquillo; Kenedy, Hayden, Shelvey, Murphy; Perez; Joselu

Blackburn: Raya; Bennett, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Bell; Travis, Evans, Reed, Conway; Armstrong; Graham

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