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Newcastle United host Fulham at St. James’ Park on Saturday night looking to bounce back from their 5-2 humiliation at Leeds.
The Magpies had started to improve their form with victories over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion before visiting Elland Road, where Steve Bruce’s team was outmatched, thought about and worked on from the game’s first kick to the last.
Bruce will seek a response from his players when the Cottagers arrive in Tyneside, but will have to consider changes to his starting lineup with a three-day turnaround and the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
So with almost certain changes to avoid further physical damage to a team still recovering from the coronavirus, here is a predicted XI that Bruce could name against Scott Parker’s Fulham …
Bruce has confirmed that he has no worries about new injuries ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Parker’s threatened relegation side, but he admitted he fears fatigue and illness will cause some to miss out on the next two weeks.
Karl Darlow should expect to start in goal with Martin Dubravka still sidelined by injury alongside Allan Saint-Maximin, while the absence of Paul Dummett should see Jamal Lewis retain his place at left back despite leaving fans furious with a horror show in Leeds.
Jacob Murphy probably won’t be as lucky as a right back, despite offering Bruce some positives at Elland Road going forward as he was unable to provide the necessary defensive support that DeAndre Yedlin would provide if he won his first Premier League start it’s from the season.
What will the result be when Newcastle host Fulham?
Sean Longstaff, whom Rafa Benitez once praised For being “very humble” and hardworking, he completely collapsed in West Yorkshire after his mistake gave Leeds a chance to break their third goal of the game and must be replaced against Fulham.
Jonjo Shelvey is the name most likely to come up alongside Isaac Hayden after not taking part in the Elland Road affair given the rapid switch between games.
Miguel Almiron also only made the bench against Marcelo Bielsa’s whites and will wait to be called up to face the Cottagers, joining Ryan Fraser in the starting lineup after the former AFC Bournemouth forward posted a team set high three key balls against Leeds.
Dwight Gayle failed to deliver the same impact from the bench on Elland Road that he brought against West Brom, leaving Bruce with no choice but to keep faith in Joelinton’s association. top scorer Callum Wilson despite the fact that the Brazilian only scored once in 11 league games.
And in other news, Mike Ashley must stop Steve Bruce from making a knee-jerk decision about an “instrumental” gem from Newcastle.