Mark Lawrenson “This could be a significant moment for Newcastle fans”
Mark Lawrenson has advised Rafa Benitez to play a strong team and do everything he can to win on Saturday.
He claims that Newcastle’s win over Cardiff, a few days after beating Blackburn, proves the point. Missing the point really, that this is Premier League Watford on Saturday, not second tier Blackburn, then Newcastle have Man City and Spurs to play in the following week, rather than a shocking Cardiff side last Saturday.
Mark Lawrenson declaring: ‘I think the feelgood factor of winning this tie would outweigh any possible distraction to their battle against the drop.’
Whilst I would like nothing more than to be standing inside Wembley in May watching Newcastle United lift the FA Cup, sadly the real world intervenes.
If only the worst that could happen was the FA Cup being a ‘distraction’ to Newcastle’s fight against relegation.
The bottom line is that Rafa Benitez simply can’t afford to play his two key players against Watford.
Martin Dubravka has been Newcastle’s best player and if the goalkeeper was injured in the FA Cup game, it would be 21 year old Freddie Woodman stepping in, who has never ever played a minute in the Premier League.
Even worse, if Salomon Rondon played on Saturday and got injured, it would be Joselu in the Premier League…
I would still love to see history made on Saturday, the first time Newcastle would have won two rounds of the FA Cup in the same season under Mike Ashley.
However, whilst Watford sitting in seventh could even play their first eleven, for Rafa Benitez that would be playing Russian Roulette.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“I don’t think there will be as many Watford fans in the North East as Newport supporters (they are playing at Middlesbrough and their club is subsiding travel…Mark Lawrenson not aware that Watford are also only charging £10 to their fans on coaches to Newcastle!) – by the end of last week, the Hornets had sold only 600 out of the 6,000 tickets they have been allocated.
“This could be a significant moment for Newcastle fans.
“If the Magpies win this tie, they will be into the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time since Mike Ashley bought the club in 2007.
“Is either manager really that bothered about making progress, though?
“Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez played some youngsters against Blackburn in the last round but they got through and when a team wins a game, it does lift the place – it showed when they followed that up by beating Cardiff in the Premier League.
“I think the feelgood factor of winning this tie would outweigh any possible distraction to their battle against the drop.
“As for Hornets boss Javi Gracia – I am not sure.
“His team are seventh in the Premier League, so they do not have worry about relegation.
“But does he see a cup run as imperative, or would he prefer to focus on trying to stay seventh?
“I don’t think we will find out until the teamsheets come out, but Newcastle have taken four points off Watford in the league this season, so I am going to back them to come out on top again.
“Prediction is Newcastle 2 Watford 0.”
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