As we set off on another FA Cup ‘adventure’ this is the predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn below.
Maybe the most difficult of teams to predict, with Rafa Benitez obviously making Premier League survival his only priority.
The Newcastle manager on Friday making clear there will be changes to his team for the FA Cup match and that five players are already ruled out: Mohamed Diame, Federico Fernandez and Karl Darlow all through injury, as well as Muto and Ki, who are both away at the Asian Cup.
Last January, Newcastle were in very similar relegation trouble but yet he still surprised us with a fairly strong team.
Whilst the likes of Woodman, Manquillo and Murphy were given a game, Rafa still selected Shelvey, Lascelles, Clark, Gayle, Perez, Merino, Ritchie and Dummett to face League Two Luton Town.
Against Championship Blackburn Rovers I think he will do similar.
I have a feeling that Rafa Benitez will stick with his three/five at the back with a more attacking emphasis.
Lejeune is set to start and I think Lascelles will get a rest, with the more mobile Schar and Clark alongside the Frenchman making is comeback.
At wing-back, I fancy Kenedy and Jacob Murphy to come in, hopefully doing more attacking than defending.
Diame is ruled out and I see both Shelvey and Longstaff coming in alongside the more defensive Isaac Hayden.
Jonjo Shelvey is desperately in need of a start and Sean Longstaff the same.
Rondon will surely be rested/protected and with Muto now off to the Asian Cup, it doesn’t leave many options.
Joselu is sure to start and whilst there is a chance Atsu or another winger could be played behind the single striker, I think Perez will get the chance of building some confidence against weaker opposition.
This being my predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn:
A team that will hopefully see us surge into the fourth round…