logo

Eddie Howe faces rare positive Newcastle United selection dilemma at Crystal Palace

Eddie Howe could experience that rarest of things this season when Newcastle United head to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night . . . selection dilemmas. The Magpies head coach has often had to fill his bench with academy players, such has been the nature of the club’s injury issues this term.

Every club has injury problems, of course, but rarely has a side been hit with so many so consistently, often long-term. It has meant Howe has had to rely on some key players throughout the season, with the likes of Sean Longstaff and Sven Botman playing through the pain for the cause.

Newcastle will head to Selhurst Park with a lengthy absentee list, with almost a whole starting XI on the sidelines. Nick Pope, Joelinton, Botman, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Targett, Joe Willock, Sandro Tonali, Lewis Miley and Miguel Almiron will all be ruled out for the midweek trip to the capital.

READ MORE: Amanda Staveley delivers strong message to Newcastle United fans after ‘resignation’ reports

READ MORE: NUFC notebook: The truth about trying to get “gold dust” season tickets & Mike Ashley defeated

However, there could be more positive news for the Magpies head coach – and it has the potential to give him some food for thought when it comes to his starting XI at Palace. United come into the game on the back of that thumping 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, but Howe could have four players back in contention.

United changed formation slightly for the visit of Spurs and it worked handsomely, with Jacob Murphy and Elliot Anderson adopting wing-back roles with three central defenders of Fabian Schar, Dan Burn and Emil Krafth. It also meant a first start as a unit for attacking trio Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak and Harvey Barnes, with the four goals testament to that success.

Two players missing from that squad could be back in contention at Palace, however, with Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson in line for a return after lay-offs. England full-back Trippier is perhaps the man most likely to come straight back into the side, with the on-field captain such an important player for Newcastle.

His influence has been missed on the pitch, and no one needs reminding of his contribution at both ends, with the right-back a consistent source of goal chances. If, as expected, Howe returns to a back four, Trippier is likely to return to the side and take the armband.

Wilson has spent several months on the sidelines recovering from a chest injury picked up in the win at Nottingham Forest, but has been pictured in first-team training. While his return is a huge boost, the United No 9 is unlikely to dislodge Isak, with the Swede in such good form. However, as an option from the bench, it’s a definite plus for Howe.

Meanwhile Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall could be ready to start, with both coming off the bench against Spurs after injury problems. Livramento missed several games with injury but is now ready to stake a claim for a place, while Hall had started against Fulham and Everton, but had been unable to train in the week leading up to Spurs.

Both would be contenders for the left-back slot in a back four, allowing Anderson to move into a more traditional midfield role – although that would mean Murphy potentially dropping to the bench along with Krafth despite another solid display.

With only six matches remaining and a European place up for grabs, the return of viable options for Howe gives the Newcastle head coach some valuable tools at his disposal as United look to get over the line. How he uses them remains to be seen, but with Joelinton and Pope also closing in on a return, the fact he has options could be the biggest factor.

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/eddie-howe-faces-rare-positive-29033603

Scroll to Top