"There's nothing better than a Cup run...We will make changes but we'll be very strong... Can we get through to the next round and can we get a result on Saturday which will get us up and running?...Its going to be very difficult to win The Premier League but a Premier League club is capable of winning a Cup."
Newcastle face Burnley at St James' Park in The Carabao Cup Second Round on Wednesday night on the back of two defeats in The Premier League & Steve Bruce is expected to make lots of changes before Saturday's clash against Southampton and the main player that must come in is the £40M Joelinton to kickstart The Magpies season.
The big Brazilian was a fixture in the team in last season's excellent run-in scoring three times at St. James' Park in consecutive home games versus Spurs, West Ham and Man City, winning and converting a penalty, & proved a vital cog in the 5-3-2 system dominating the air from Matt Ritchie's crosses, occupying defenders and providing a platform for others like Allan Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock to play off.
Its in the Cup competitions he has really thrived for Newcastle, scoring 4 of his 10 goals scored so far in a black & white shirt with two in The FA Cup & two in The Carabao Cup so could well be the man to fire Newcastle into the next round draw after guiding Newcastle into the Quarter Finals of both competitions since joining the club in 2019.
While he is yet to justify his club record fee in the eyes of most, the best is yet to come from him and Newcastle look a more solid outfit for his presence and it was little wonder that he won the most duels in the NUFC squad last season showing the competitiveness he brings to the team:
When Steve Bruce was asked on his TotalSport interview if Joelinton "would ever make it, hand on heart at Newcastle" by a Newcastle fan, the Magpies Head Coach replied:
"Well I' sincerely hope so because it won't be through lack of trying.I do believe he was thrust into a difficult situation and of course, the huge price tag can weigh a lot of people down and we have seen that. He's been at the club a couple of years now, and I do believe he is probably better playing to a side rather than being a number nine. He's only 25, I hand on heart hope so because there's nobody desperate to try and do well than big Joe."
Having never shied away from the challenge of leading Steve Bruce's side through a tough period and the adversity of moving to a new country, learning a new language & style of play often playing in an unfamiliar target man role, he deserves a break & Newcastle fans will be hoping that this is his breakthrough season at the club.
Elsewhere in a 4-2-3-1 line-up, I would make wholesale changes to give everyone in the squad a chance and keep key men like Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximum fresh for the weekend's game against Southampton when Newcastle really need all three points while returning players like Joe Willock and Jamaal Lascelles need match fitness minutes in the tank so this would be the XI that I would field vs Burnley:
Dwight Gayle scored twice & looked sharp against Norwich in a pre-season friendly and deserves a start as does Ryan Fraser, another pre-season scorer & a player who scored the winner at St. James' Park on his Newcastle debut in last season's corresponding Carabao Cup round against Blackburn Rovers to win the tie.
The Scot has struggled for fitness and form since making the switch from Bournemouth last summer but there is a better player there than Newcastle fans have seen so far & 90 minutes under his belt would propel him towards rekindling his goal-laden partnership with Wilson, who should be on the bench with The Saint as impact subs.
Sean Longstaff and Jeff Hendrick, two other pre-season scorers, should also start along with Jamal Lewis and Javier Manquillo plus goalkeeper Mark Gillespie, who made his dream debut at St James' Park a year ago for his boyhood club at the same stage.
Burnley, like Newcastle, have also lost both of their two opening games of The Premier League campaign to Brighton and Liverpool and its unlikely Sean Dyche will field his strongest either with star man Chris Wood and others dropping to the bench like in last season's 2nd round before The Clarets host Leeds on Sunday in The Premier League.
Newcastle beat Burnley home and away last season thanks to two inspired performances from creative catalyst Allan Saint-Maximum who set up goals and scored wonderful solo efforts himself in both games, turning the away game on its head when he arrived as a second half substitute to assist Jacob Murphy before a brilliant winner to bag all three points.
Prediction - Newcastle 2 Burnley 1*