Aleksandar Mitrovic has two wishes tonight, that he personally starts against Northampton and that Florian Thauvin plays alongside him.
The quality, or rather the lack of them, of crosses has plagued Newcastle in recent seasons, both in open play and set-pieces.
Steve McClaren admitting that one of the main reasons for bringing in Florian Thauvin was to correct that deficiency in the team that he had identified.
Whether the pair get to start a game together for the first time tonight remains to be seen, though clearly it is a central part of the Head Coach’s new look team, that Thauvin and Mitrovic will hopefully cause havoc together in the front third.
I’d like to see Mitrovic at least get the first half against Northampton, either alongside Cisse or replaced by him later in the game. If the Serbian striker isn’t in the starting 11 then you’d hope he is at least on the bench to get game time (and hopefully a goal) later and/or as insurance if things go pear-shaped in the match.
As for Thauvin, Steve McClaren mentioned a handful of names who he said were in his thinking to come in and get a start in the cup-tie, with the French winger named along with Siem de Jong, Cheick Tiote and Mike Williamson.
Florian Thauvin himself appears to have little doubt that he will be involved, using his Twitter account to send out the following message last night:
“See you tomorrow Saint James Park! Very excited to meet you there and play my first game in this stadium.”
Whatever team that McClaren does put out, they should be not only up to the job of winning the match, but also to do it with a little style and hopefully a few goals.
With Mitrovic hoping to be at the heart of it:
“I want to play on Tuesday but we will have to see – I am not the coach and he needs to decide but I think it would be good for my body, my fitness.
“It was my first game (start) for Newcastle at Old Trafford and I felt good, a long time since I had played a game from the beginning but I really felt good – a good 80 minutes for me and by the end I felt a little tired, but that is okay.”
“He (Florian Thauvin) did really well on his debut, he was fresh and he made a difference.
“He made the defenders feel tired and I think he’s a really good player, his left leg’s really good and he can be really important for us – I hope that he will be in the team for the next (Northampton) game.”
— Florian Thauvin (@FlorianThauvin) August 24, 2015