Steve Bruce says he’ll be giving the FA Cup a good crack this season and in the run-up to this game has spoken openly about the good chance his side have of reaching the last 16.
This game and a home match against Rochdale’s League One colleagues Oxford stand between the Magpies and that stage.
Given Newcastle’s reputation, that does seem like over-confidence, especially given the team’s form has tailed off in recent weeks.
For those who follow the xG (expected goals) stats, that will not come as a surprise. In the xG table, Newcastle sit bottom which suggests, in terms of results, they have overperformed so far this season.
After a run of one win and four defeats in their last seven, they sit only five points above the Premier League relegation zone and risk getting dragged into trouble.
A string of injuries hasn’t helped. Allan Saint-Maximin, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabian Schar will all miss out again, with Dwight Gayle and Paul Dummett set to join them after picking up knocks at Wolves on Saturday.
Joelinton is another who had a injury issue come the end of that game, one Newcastle probably should have lost.
They were certainly bothered by Rochdale in the first game. Admittedly Newcastle should have put the game to bed in the first half but they struggled after the break and duly conceded.
Rochdale are struggling in the lower half of the third tier but will take plenty of confidence from that display at Spotland.
It’s not hard to see the home fans groaning if their side doesn’t take charge early on and so Rochdale look tempting in the betting markets.
They are 19/2 to win the game but 13/5 in the double-chance market (backing both the away win and draw) looks the way to go.
Rochdale-Draw in double-chance market – 13/5 with Paddy Power
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Newcastle United scored three times in nine first-half minutes as they swept Rochdale aside in their FA Cup third-round replay at St James’ Park.
Steve Bruce’s side eventually beat their League One opponents 4-1 to set up a fourth-round clash against Oxford United.
After Miguel Almiron had fired an early chance wide and then headed against the woodwork, Newcastle took the lead in the 17th minute when Matt Ritchie’s teasing cross was turned into his own net by Dale’s central defender Eoghan O’Connell.
Three minutes later Newcastle doubled their advantage when Matty Longstaff lashed the ball home from eight yards out and it was game over in the 26th minute when Almiron added another goal.
Dale goalkeeper Robert Sanchez’s short pass was latched on to by the Paraguay international who shot home from eight yards out.
The visitors tried to hit back but veteran striker Aaron Wilbraham, who made the headlines when he scored Dale’s late equaliser at Spotland which forced the replay, lashed his shot over the bar.
Rochdale’s Stephen Dooley headed over the bar from a good position but Bruce’s team added a fourth goal in the 82nd minute when Brazilian striker Joelinton, whose only previous Newcastle goal had come in the 1-0 victory at Tottenham in August, turned Tom Allan’s cross past Sanchez.
Rochdale did at least score a consolation goal with four minutes remaining when Jordan Williams netted with a low drive but it was far too little too late for the League One outfit.
Dummett and Gayle out as Newcastle injury woes continue
Defender Paul Dummett and striker Dwight Gayle are out of Newcastle’s FA Cup third round replay against Rochdale after limping out of Saturday’s Premier League draw at Wolves.
Both men suffered hamstring strains before half-time at Molineux and were due to undergo scans on Monday morning to determine the extent of the damage.
Striker Joelinton, who played on with a groin problem, is yet to be ruled out of the clash with League One Dale while skipper Jamaal Lascelles could return after recovering from a fractured tibia.
The game will come too soon for midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and forward Allan Saint-Maximin (both hamstring), while defenders Javier Manquillo and Fabian Schar (also both hamstring) and DeAndre Yedlin (knee), as well as midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and striker Yoshinori Muto (both knocks), are still sidelined.
Rochdale have defender Rhys Norrington-Davies available again.
The Welshman, who is on loan from Sheffield United, has been out since suffering a facial injury against Fleetwood on Boxing Day.
That gives manager Brian Barry-Murphy a lift but he still has a number of other doubts.
Oliver Rathbone, Tyler Magloire, Paul McShane, Matt Done and Ryan McLaughlin have all missed games recently and are battling to be fit.