Newcastle United are set to be without three senior centre-backs for their home clash against Leeds United on Tuesday evening.
Leeds and Newcastle have had contrasting approaches to this season and it’s producing hugely differing results at the moment.
While we couldn’t be much happier with sitting 12th in the table and playing great football, the Magpies are seemingly fed up with how they’re playing.
It’s caused a slump under Steve Bruce that now stretches to a 10-game run without a win.
We’ve had 10 days to prepare for this game thanks to Southampton’s rescheduled FA Cup fixture during midweek along with our non-involvement in the fourth round.
Meanwhile, Bruce’s Newcastle went to Aston Villa and lost 2-0 on Saturday night with a reshuffled defensive setup.
While we have managed to welcome key players back into the squad this week, it appears that Bruce is still contending with absences at centre-back.
Midfielder Isaac Hayden partnered Jamaal Lascelles at the heart of defence and while Bruce could do with more, he’s confirmed ahead of the Leeds game that he’s still got a significant headache at the back.
“Over this period, we’ve had illness, more importantly than anything, and injuries.” He told the Newcastle Chronicle.
“Even tomorrow, we’ve got three centre backs out.
“It’s not just a defender, a midfielder and a forward player – all our injuries tomorrow are in a certain position.
“We’ve been a bit unfortunate in that respect, but as I said I never look for excuses like that because it’s part and parcel of it.”
Newcastle are set to be without centre-back trio Paul Dummett, Federico Fernandez, and Ciaran Clark, with the latter scoring Newcastle’s second when we beat them 5-2 in December.
We know better than anyone what it’s like with all your defenders missing, and it’s nice to think that we’ll be the side not contending with these issues for once.
It’s good to see that Bruce isn’t using it as an excuse because we beat them 5-2 with one senior centre-back in the squad.
I’d expect them to cope without key players at the back, given they’ve at least got Lascelles and Hayden is getting more and more used to playing there at the minute.
It’s an area for us to exploit tomorrow but even at full strength, we should have enough to cause them serious issues at the back.