I don’t want to put too much of a downer on tonight’s cup clash but I think everybody should be braced for the fact that we could have two, not one, Championship teams competing tonight at St James Park.

We have already seen how tough the Newcastle first team have found it in the six games so far.

Only two points, three goals, no wins, pretty much all matches a struggle with the exception of the first half against Southampton.

In the cup it was a bit of a relief, as despite nine changes United comfortably dispatched Northampton 4-1. Though it did help that it was League Two opposition and that with a more or less full squad to pick from, we didn’t have to dig too deep in the barrel to produce a team.

Wednesday night sees better (Championship) opposition and Steve McClaren will undoubtedly leave first choice players out with Chelsea in mind, added to the eleven who are all likely to be ruled out anyway.

So what are we left with?

Well, I can see the following seven players all very likely to feature:

Mike Williamson

Yoan Gouffran

Ivan Toney

Jamaal Lascelles

Rob Elliot

Vurnon Anita

Gabriel Obertan

All seven of these players are Championship level at best, in my opinion.

In fact it is not just my opinion, as pretty much all of them have been linked with loan or permanent moves to clubs lower than the Premier League in recent times.

The exception would be Vurnon Anita but I think he is a player totally unsuited to the Premier League, he might get a game back in Holland in their top league, but I couldn’t see him getting in a single other Premier League team.

Naturally we all hope Ivan Toney will one day develop into a PL player but he was hardly setting League Two alight and it has taken him until Monday this week to grab his first reserve team goal.

You can also add Rolando Aarons to this list in terms of where he is at in his career so far.

Yes he has shown signs of promise as a sub and in some cup matches (but not against Northampton when he was poor) but Pardew, Carver and McClaren have all failed to give him a single Premier League start and he is 20 in November.

Unless Steve McClaren throws pretty much everything at it tonight then I can see Newcastle having a really tough game.

To be totally confident, I think Newcastle need to make no more than two or three changes, rather than keeping only two or three of the first team and filling the team up with Championship level players.

The Cups are once again in the balance.

(Dale is just one of our ever expanding team of regular/irregular writers, send in your original articles for our website to [email protected] and share them with the world – all views are the author’s own etc etc)