Bruce urges Magpies to fly high in FA Cup

Newcastle United
Steve Bruce

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has told his players to go all out in the FA Cup as they prepare to face Rochdale in the third round this weekend.

The Magpies take centre stage on Saturday afternoon as they travel to the Crown Oil Arena for the 12.31pm kick-off.

Newcastle remain the odds-on favourites for the game, but they head to the League One club in the middle of an injury crisis. Bruce is without 11 first-team players after the festive programme got the better of his Newcastle squad.

Jonjo Shelvey, Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schar and Jetro Willems all got injured in the 3-0 defeat to Leicester City last time out. At the same time, they still have other first-team players on the sidelines.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark are also in the treatment room, but left-back Matt Ritchie could return from his ankle problem.

Bruce won the FA Cup three times as a player and guided Hull City to the final in 2014, and he believes his team need to aim high, even with their injury issues.

He told reporters: “We’re not going to win the Premier League – I don’t think we’re going to catch Liverpool this year – but we’ve got a chance in the FA Cup, so let’s embrace it, let’s bring it on and have a go.

“The FA Cup is the FA Cup, so we have to get prepared, get ready for it and we know that we’ve got a game on our hands.

“The TV cameras are there. They’re there for one reason – to see if there is a shock, so we have to guard against that, be mentally tough enough to take it on, forget about the injuries and get on with it and make sure that we get through.

“It’s there for every Premier League team. You can win five games and get to Wembley. Why not?”

Manchester City are the favourites to defend their FA Cup crown this year, but punters can back Newcastle to go all the way using their free betfree bet.