Steve Bruce has identified seven players who will come into his Newcastle side when they host Blackburn in the second round of the Carabao Cup at St James’ Park on Tuesday night.
The Magpies will be looking to secure a place in the third round of the cup, where they will face League Two opposition in either Morecambe or Oldham.
It will however, be a much-changed side to the one that got the Premier League campaign off to a perfect start with victory at West Ham on Saturday, with Bruce confirming a number of players are set to start for the first time this season, and summer signing Ryan Fraser in line for his debut.
Speaking to The Shields Gazette about his selection for the clash with Blackburn, Bruce said: “I’ll rotate, but when I look at the squad, and the players we’ve got coming into it …
“Joelinton will play, (Miguel) Almiron will play, Ryan Fraser will play, Matt Ritchie will play, (Sean) Longstaff will play, Ciaran Clark will come back into the team, Emil Krafth, who is a Swedish international, will play.”
Despite those changes, Bruce is adamant he is still taking this competition seriously, as he added: “When I look at the players that we’ve got who need to go and play, yes, I will be making changes, but I’m not changing my philosophy. It would be great to have another cup run. Why not?”
Indeed, it seems the Magpies manager believes that that scope to rotate is a sign of the strength in depth he has within his side this season, as he concluded: “When I looked behind me on Saturday, there’s seven of them sitting there, probably five or six of them might have started last year. So I’ve got a much stronger squad.”
It does make sense for Bruce to make these sort of changes for Tuesday night.
This is the perfect opportunity for those who did not feature at the weekend to get themselves closer to match sharpness with competitive football, while also giving some of those who started at West Ham a break, given the hectic nature of the scheduling during the 2020/21 campaign.
You also feel that even with those changes, this is a side that is more than capable of causing problems for Blackburn, and with a League Two side guaranteed in the next round, the chance of a cup run this season is certainly there for Bruce and co.