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FA Cup Preview: Blackburn Rovers VS Newcastle United

Newcastle United will travel to Ewood Park tonight as they look to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals against Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn will be hoping to reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the second season running after beating Leicester City 2-1 last season.

However, Blackburn parted ways with Jon Dahl Tomasson in early February. They hired John Eustace, the former Birmingham City boss, as his replacement but he is yet to taste victory as manager in his first four games leaving Blackburn 16th in the Championship and only four points outside the relegation zone.

2WARMM2 Blackburn on Saturday 6th January 2024. Blackburn Rover’s Harry Leonard celebrates during the FA Cup Third Round match between Blackburn Rovers and Cambridge United at Ewood Park, Blackburn on Saturday 6th January 2024. (Photo: Phill Smith | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

Blackburn will now turn their focus on the FA Cup where they began their campaign with a 5-2 victory against Cambridge in early January before dismantling Wrexham at Ewood Park beating them 4-1.

On the other hand, Newcastle United will need to put their 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday night, which ended their four away game unbeaten run, quickly behind them as they will be aiming to get to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2020.

The Magpies currently sit in 10th place in the Premier League and are 15 points off fourth place. Newcastle have already exited the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Champions League before the festive period and looks unlikely to reach the European places. The FA Cup may be the only route for the Magpies to have a successful season as they go chasing their first major trophy since 1969.

Newcastle have seen off arch-rivals Sunderland beating them comfortably 3-0 at the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup third round and then went to Craven Cottage and beat Fulham 2-0 to reach the fifth round.

2WCJ060 Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle – Sunderland v Newcastle United, The Emirates FA Cup third round, Stadium of Light, Sunderland, UK – 6th January 2024
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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe describes it as a huge game saying: “We’re absolutely committed to the FA Cup to do well and have been all season. We’ve had two difficult games away from home to get to this stage and now another one. We’ve been looking forward to this game, so we know how important it is.”

Howe is happy to have two stars returning he said: “To this point, they have came through unscathed. Delighted with Joe (Willock)’s return and he scored a very typical Joe Willock goal. Alex (Isak) got a good 60 minutes under his belt too.”

Howe gave an injury update he said: “They’re getting there (Matt Targett and Elliot Anderson). It’s been a long road for both of them. (Targett)’s injury was quite a clear cut, a bad tear in his hamstring and an operation.

“Elliot’s had a very, very difficult injury because he felt OK but the scan said it was a stress fracture in his back so he had to give it a lot of rest. He’s worked really hard and has felt good. Both are close to returning.”

The Blackburn Manager John Eustace is excited for the game he said: “I think it’s an exciting game, it’s big for the fans, big for the players. They will be playing against top players in Europe. It’s a really exciting night for the fans to see a special night hopefully. The FA Cup is a special competition, we’re looking forward to the night and playing one of the best sides in Europe, one of the best in the Premier League.”

Team news for Blackburn is that they will be missing Joe-Rankin-Costello, John Fleck and Hayden Carter tonight while Harry Leonard remains a doubt.

Team news for Newcastle is that they will be without Sandro Tonail, Callum Wilson, Joelinton, Nick Pope, Anderson and Targett. Martin Dubravka is a doubt due to illness so Loris Karius may start for the second game running.