Newcastle United will kickstart their Carabao Cup journey on Tuesday night with a home game against lower league side Blackburn Rovers.

The second round of the 2020/21 Carabao Cup got underway on Monday, with Premier League clubs entering the competition at this stage. And Newcastle United will begin their campaign in the cup competition on Tuesday night when they play hosts to EFL Championship side Blackburn Rovers at the St. James’ Park.

After a turbulent summer that involved a failed takeover, Steve Bruce and Newcastle United began their Premier League campaign on a strong note, beating West Ham United 2-0 on Saturday, with two new signings – Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick – scoring. The Magpies will be hoping to carry that momentum and register another victory to progress in the Carabao Cup.

Blackburn Rovers kickstarted the new season with a 3-2 win over League One outfit Doncaster Rovers in the first round of the Carabao Cup. However, they were handed a 3-2 defeat by AFC Bournemouth in their first fixture in the EFL Championship this past weekend. They will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways and advance in the competition.

The two teams faced each other in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2019, with Newcastle winning 4-2 in a replay, after the first fixture had ended in a 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Newcastle United

Steve Bruce is likely to make changes to his starting XI (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Steve Bruce is likely to make changes to his starting XI (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Newcastle United will once again go into the game without the services of first-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, while Fabian Schar also remains unavailable. In addition, the likes of Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle are also likely to miss out, while midfielder Matty Longstaff is also a major doubt for the game.

Bruce is likely to make a few changes to the side that defeated West Ham United at the weekend. Karl Darlow, though, is expected to be retained between the sticks by the manager. He will be shielded by a backline comprising of Emil Krafth and Jamal Lewis as the two full-backs, while Jamaal Lascelles will have Ciaran Clark as his partner at the centre.

Moving into midfield, Sean Longstaff is likely to get a look-in ahead of Jonjo Shelvey. The academy graduate is expected to pair up with Isaac Hayden in the centre of the park. The duo ought to be flanked by new signing Ryan Fraser on one side and Matt Ritchie on the other, with Allan Saint-Maximin and Jeff Hendrick dropping to the bench.

Callum Wilson scored on his debut on Saturday, but is likely to make way for Joelinton on Tuesday night. The Brazilian will lead the attack, with Miguel Almiron playing in the hole behind him, after an impressive cameo against West Ham. Wilson and Andy Carroll will provide options from the bench if needed.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Fraser, Hayden, Longstaff, Ritchie; Almiron; Joelinton

Blackburn Rovers

The visitors will continue to cope with the absence of key man Bradley Dack, who is still recovering from an ACL injury, while midfielder Bradley Johnson is set to miss out as well after picking up an ankle injury against Bournemouth. Sam Gallagher is also set to miss a third game in a row due to a thigh problem.

Tony Mowbray will have to deal with the absence of Bradley Johnson (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Tony Mowbray will have to deal with the absence of Bradley Johnson (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

With an important league game against Wycombe Wanderers up next in the league, manager Tony Mowbray might look to shuffle his pack for the cup tie against the Magpies. Blackburn are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Andy Fisher set to replace new signing Thomas Kaminski in goal for the cup game.

Darragh Lenihan ought to continue at the heart of the defence, but there could be a change of partners for him, with Derrick Williams likely to make way for Scott Wharton, who started in the first round of the cup competition against Doncaster. Amari’i Bell should continue at left-back, while Joe Rankin-Costello could move to the right-back slot.

With Johnson set to miss out with an injury, Corry Evans is likely to get the nod in the middle of the park. He will slot in alongside Lewis Travis, who will be in charge of screening the defence. The third slot in the middle of the park should once again be taken up by Lewis Holtby, who will look to try and create openings for the forwards in the final third.

Adam Armstrong has scored two goals in two games in the new season, and should start against his former club. In his place Ben Brereton ought to keep his spot on the left flank, while Harry Chapman gets the nod on the right. Youngster Tyrhys Dolan should get more minutes after featuring from the bench in both the games this season.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Fisher; Rankin-Costello, Lenihan, Wharton, Bell; Evans, Travis, Holtby; Chapman, Armstrong, Brereton

Key Stats

  • Newcastle United have the narrowest of the advantages over Blackburn Rovers in terms of the head-to-head record. The Magpies have won 59 of the 145 matches between the two teams, while losing 56 (D30).
  • Both Newcastle and Blackburn have won two and lost two in their previous five meetings across all competitions (D1).
  • Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has faced Newcastle four times in his managerial career, but is yet to win a single game.
  • Steve Bruce and Mowbray have clashed against each other nine times so far in their careers. The Newcastle United boss has the upper-hand with four wins, compared to three for the Blackburn manager (D2).
  • Newcastle United’s win against West Ham on Saturday brought an end to a six-game winless run (D1 L5). Prior to the weekend victory, the Magpies had last won a game in July, a 4-1 triumph against Bournemouth.

Player to Watch

Miguel Almiron

Almiron comes alive in cup competitions (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images)

Almiron comes alive in cup competitions (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images)

The Paraguayan international surprisingly did not start in the league game against West Ham United on Saturday. But, after coming on for the final five minutes or so, Almiron made his presence felt, setting up Jeff Hendrick for Newcastle United’s second goal.

Last season, Almiron had thrived in the cup competitions, with four of his eight goals in the campaign, coming in his six FA Cup appearances. Likely to start against Blackburn on Tuesday night, expect the 26-year-old to make a major impact and cause major problems to the opposition defence, with his quick feet and sharp movement in the final third.


Newcastle United 2-0 Blackburn Rovers

Even though Newcastle are likely to make a number of changes to the side that started at the weekend, Steve Bruce should be able to field a fairly strong starting XI. And with Blackburn leaking goals in their first two matches of the new season, it is unlikely that they will be able to hold off the Premier League outfit on Tuesday.

The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts the Magpies to pick up a straightforward victory against the Championship side and progress to the third round of the Carabao Cup.

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