Newcastle vs West Ham preview: Magpies begin life under Bruce 
Issa Diop of West Ham United tackles Fabian Schar of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on March 02, 2019. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Newcastle United continue life without Rafael Benitez on Saturday when they face Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham United in the Premier League Asia Trophy third-place play-off.

Both sides will be looking to build on defeats in the semi-final stage, where the Hammers lost 4-1 against Manchester City whilst the Magpies were thrashed 4-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Team News

Pellegrini will have a fully fit 23-man squad to choose from going into this friendly, although the squad does not include new signings Pablo Fornals and Sebastian Haller, as well as Fabian Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku.

As for Newcastle, new manager Steve Bruce watched on as Martin Dubravka and Sean Longstaff returned to training after picking up injuries during the week alongside the rest of the squad.

The two camps faced the media ahead of the game

Steve Bruce faced the media after replacing Benitez who left the club upon his contract expiring, with Bruce being a fairly unpopular appointment.

He said: "To be given the opportunity again, it was simply something I had to take. I had to grasp it.

"I accept I am not everyone's cup of tea, but judge me over a period of time. I am quietly confident I will do okay."

Meanwhile, captain, Jamaal Lascelles urged the fans to stay positive ahead of the game.

"We're always being told we're not good enough or we're not doing something right", he said.

"You need to look forward, we've got a great manager coming in and we need to remain positive."

As for the West Ham manager, he took the positives from the Man City defeat on Wednesday.

"I think that was a very useful game for us. We played with different players in each half and played very well in the first half and created chances. In the second, we made some important defensive mistakes but that is usual at this stage of the season", Pellegrini said.

"Steve is a manager with a lot of experience in England so he will know how Newcastle must play and the players they have."

Who to look out for

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is likely to make his first appearance of pre-season in this one, he had a very impressive season in the last campaign and played all 38 Premier League games.

Jack Wilshere starred in the defeat to Wolves last time out for the Hammers, many fans will be intrigued to see if he can get any more minutes under his belt after his recent injuries, he managed just eight league appearances last season.

As for Newcastle, star midfielder Sean Longstaff returned to the matchday squad against Wolves after recovering from injury but did not make an appearance.

However, fans will be hoping he can be fit enough to play some kind of role in this game.

Both teams will be looking to get more minutes into their players whilst hoping the technical side of the game will start to come out of their key players, the game kicks off at 10 am BST.

 

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