Newcastle United face Leicester City at St James' Park on Tuesday night knowing a win will put the club in its first Semi-Final of a major trophy since April 2005 when Shola Ameobi's consolation goal was the only source of cheer for Magpies fans who travelled to The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to see their team ruthlessly beaten 4-1 by Man Utd.
Eddie Howe boxed clever with his 'small squad' on Saturday night in The FA Cup making eight changes to the starting line-up as The Magpies bowed out to Sheffield Wednesday in a Cup giant-killing yet the game had similar vibes to last year's Third Round loss to Cambridge as Newcastle were never convincingly attempting to win the match choosing to concentrate on a return to the Champions League big time & attack The Carabao Cup.
All focus in Newcastle is now on Tuesday's League Cup Quarter-Final and Magpies fans will be hoping a full-strength side which is riding high third in The Premier League table can do a quick double over Brendan Rodgers' Foxes after knocking them out 3-0 within 32 minutes on Boxing Day at The King Power Stadium:
Nobody at St James' Park will be taking anything for granted after Saturday although Newcastle were ultimately undone by a crucial first goal that was offside in a match played without VAR as Leicester cleared their own lower League hurdle beating League Two's Gillingham 1-0 thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho's striker but it is Leicester's FA Cup triumph in 2021 that demands that The Magpies take them with the utmost seriousness despite a bad start and fluctuating form that has them 13th in The Premier League.
Newcastle have been heavily linked with both Leicester's FA Cup Final-winning goal-scorer Youri Tielemans and attacker James Maddison again this transfer window yet nothing has happened yet and Tielemans is set to be part of a Foxes side intent on reversing the Boxing Day battering given by The Magpies. Indeed, Foxes' matchwinner from Saturday Iheanacho vowed to seek 'revenge' against Newcastle for that loss:
"Obviously, this will give us momentum to go to the next cup competition," said the Nigeria forward.
"We are playing Newcastle and it's revenge for us as they beat us [3-0] in the Premier League, so it's not going to be easy but fingers crossed, we will fight to our last breath to make sure we win."
Yet Newcastle have more than doubled Leicester's Premier League points tally - 35-17 - for a reason in the 2022/23 season and can field what is perhaps their strongest side and squad of the season so far with the return of Sweden International striker Aleander Isak who gaining a valuable 45 minutes of first-team fitness under his belt on Saturday:
Whether Isak will start remains to be seen but if he does it will be the first time he and club number Callum Wilson have featured in the same starting-line up together in a scenario in which the England striker would be central and Isak on the left-wing - if Allan Saint-Maximin who missed the Hillsborough trip with illness isn't fit to start - and whoever starts, Newcastle will have superb talent to come off the bench & impact.
Leicester are suffering an injury crisis so have lost big players like James Maddison who is not expected to play and Boubakary Soumare and Kiernan Dewsbury Hall recently to add to long-term absentees Jonny Evans and James Justin while Eddie Howe's squad has an almost full bill of health which makes it advantage Newcastle.
With so much at stake, I expect Newcastle to go for the jugular like they did on Boxing Day away to Leicester and blow The Foxes away and book a place in The Semi-Final.
Prediction - Newcastle 4 Leicester 0