This is the predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn as Rafa Benitez is faced with a match that he most definitely didn’t want.

Obviously he can’t come out and say it but clearly the Newcastle boss would have preferred to go out the FA Cup as quickly as possible.

Mike Ashley leaving him no other option but to not have a go at the cup competitions whatsoever.

With no defeat in that first game, by far the worst option was the need for a replay.

If Newcastle had won nine days ago then they would have been into a fourth round match in two weeks time and he could have put it to the back of his mind. However, he now faces a replay only four days before arguably the biggest game of the season so far, desperately needing to beat relegation rivals Cardiff on Saturday.

So taking in that fact, as well as Muto and Ki away on international duties, as well as a number of relegation worries, what Newcastle team v Blackburn can he put out?

I think the third round game at St James Park and the subs bench at Stamford Bridge are the starting points.

I see all seven subs from that Chelsea game starting, as well as it being nine of the starting eleven that took on Blackburn in the first game.

The seven subs at Chelsea were Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy, Freddie Woodman, Jamie Sterry, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Joselu.

I expect them all to start on Tuesday night, Fernandez was the only one of these who didn’t also start the Blackburn game at home.

The other five who started that (Blackburn) game were Hayden, Longstaff, Lejeune, Ritchie and Kenedy.

I think Matt Ritchie will be given a rest and Florian Lejeune looked after, making sure he is ok for Cardiff.

Kenedy couldn’t play against the team he was loaned from on Saturday and he looks sure to be given a game.

As for Hayden and Longstaff, I think they will both play again. If Rafa had other fringe players he would play them there but there are no obvious choices, especially with the likes of Barlaser out on loan.

The Shelvey and Diame situations are unknown but if there is any chance of them being available in these next five days, they will be aimed at Cardiff and not Blackburn, the same with Paul Dummett.

Completing the line-up, I fancy Ciaran Clark to be used in a three centre-back system.

Rafa Benitez as shown no inclination to use Achraf Lazaar and presumably Rolando Aarons would be able to play as well now if the manager wanted to. Rafa has stated that both these players need to find new clubs this month but maybe if they could play centre midfield they would have got a call tomorrow night. Newcastle have got plenty of options on the wings and who can at least fill in at full-back, so no essential need to use them.

Whatever choice he does make, you can only sympathise with Rafa Benitez due to the situation he finds himself in, when deciding who e does he play at Blackburn.

This being my predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn:

newcastle team v blackburn

A team that will hopefully see us surge, at the second attempt, into the fourth round…

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  • Paul Patterson

    Oh dear. I seem to remember a time when we were in the top four, with a top squad and playing the same top squad in the Premier League, Champions League AND FA cup AND crucially, WINNING.
    The ghost of Sir Bobby must be looking in and wondering what to make of it all . .

    • Alex

      I’m slowly converting my MiniDV camcorder tapes to digital MP4. Today’s tape was from the autumn of 2002, and what should I find but video from Turin and Juventus v. Newcastle.

      Less than 4 years after that, never would I have imagined that some guy called Ashley would come in and be allowed to slowly destroy the club.

      • Paul Patterson

        You should put them on YouTube. There’s some stellar memories there.
        Won’t see them with this owner..

  • Kenny

    The Hoss strikes fear into the fans, His own

  • Christopher Edwards

    It might be time to bring Saviet and Colback back from their loans to fill in the midfield gaps. Is Anita available?

  • Themoscow72

    Need Atsu and Perez on that is for sure and see if Shelvey is fit for a run out.
    Should have started with a few more players at home and the job would have been done. Be round 2,000 loyal fans making the journey. It’s pay on the door so if you can make it see you there.

    • Wor Lass

      Shelvey`s out for definite. Do you get into the Havelock Inn for a guiness or two before the game? My favourite pub name ever.

      • Themoscow72

        Used to go to the Angle Inn which changed it’s name to the infirmary. Most bars ate home fans only now so will try get in the working mens club.

        • Wor Lass

          Try the Havelock Inn. It`s in the Hollins Bank area on Havelock St, a shortish walk to the ground and reasonable for parking. The beer and service in there is great and there`s always a good mix of supporters with nee botha! There`s always loads of geordies in there drinking that black and white stuff!

  • mentalman

    Sorensen not included in tonights game, must be finalising a loan or involved in the cup game

    • Tommy Adds

      Apparently he’s away with Denmark U-21’s.