Preview: Newcastle are focused on defeating Rochdale

Newcastle United will be on the road tomorrow to take on Rochdale in the third round of the FA Cup.

Unlike their difficult draw in the Carabao Cup, Newcastle United are the favorites in tomorrow’s clash against League One outfit Rochdale. The Magpies are dealing with an injury crisis, so it will be interesting to see the changes Steve Bruce will make for this fixture.

Where and when will the game be played?

Tomorrow’s third round clash will be played at Rochdale, which is located in the greater Manchester area, at the Spotland Stadium. Kick off for tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 12:31 (GMT). The one minute delay to start the game is part of a campaign to help promote mental health awareness.

Overview: Rochdale AFC

Rochdale currently compete in the third tier of English football and are currently 18th in the League One table. The Dale have only managed to win seven games out of 24 this season and as a result they find themselves in a tight relegation battle. Rochdale are entering this game with a recent performance record of two victories and three defeats. The club’s top scorer is Ian Henderson and he has claimed the team’s golden boot for six consecutive seasons. Henderson currently has nine goals to his name.

Analysis

One of the first things Steve Bruce said he would do as the head coach of Newcastle United is lead the team on some deep cup runs, specifically the FA Cup. Now that the Magpies have been hit with several injuries to key players, tomorrow’s lineup is unpredictable. Despite all the injuries in the squad, Newcastle United’s “B” team remains superior to Rochdale.

Bruce has to be careful to avoid further injuries to first team players, so it is safe to assume that he will throw some academy players into the starting lineup, such as Elias Sorensen and Kelland Watts. Matty Longstaff is expected to lead the way in the middle of the park and he is capable of causing problems for Rochdale with his high work rate on and off the ball. He could be joined by his brother, Sean, or by Ki Sung-yueng.

Karl Darlow will start between the sticks, but the back-line in front of him will not be at full strength due to injuries. Emil Krafth and Paul Dummett will likely start alongside some youngsters who are eager to make the most of this opportunity.

Newcastle United’s attacking players have managed to stay healthy during the busy festive period, so Bruce will have more first team players to choose from in that area. The most likely scenario would see Christian Atsu, Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto get the nod up top as the attacking trio. This game would be perfect for Joelinton to get more touches on the ball, create more chances and score some goals to boost his confidence, but it is unclear whether he will be risked or rested.

Predictions

Newcastle United are the clear favorites in this game and anything other than a win tomorrow would be a major disappointment. Despite dealing with so many injuries, Bruce still has several quality players at his disposal. Both Carson and I think the Magpies will get the job done and advance to the fourth round of the competition.

  • Carson A. Merk: Rochdale 1-3 Newcastle United
  • Durim Halimi Rochdale 0-3 Newcastle United
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