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Newcastle United news - Magpies legend defends Joelinton; French interest in Matty Longstaff

Hello and welcome to our Newcastle United live blog on Friday, February 28.

Steve Bruce's side preparing for Saturday's game with Burnley at St James' Park, and could be boosted by the return of Jonjo Shelvey.

The United playmaker returned to training this week, and is set to be in contention for the Premier League match.

We'll be hearing from Steve Bruce later this monrning.

Meanwhile there continues to be speculation over a possible takeover and Lee Ryder has delivered his verdict on where the interest from the Amanda Staveley-brokered Saudi group currently stands amid constant speculation.

Signing off

That’s all from us tonight folks. Here’s a look at today’s top stories:

Pundits' view

Newcastle welcome Burnley to St James’ Park on Saturday as they look to move one step closer towards safety.

The Magpies head into the clash seven points clear of the relegation zone and can move with in six points of the 40-point benchmark generally considered enough for Premier League survival.

They will have to buck the losing trend of their last two games, though, while they entertain a Clarets side who arrive on Tyneside in great form.

Players seen L-R Nabil Bentaleb, Sean Longstaff, Valentino Lazaro, Yoshinori Muto and Joelinton warm up
Players seen L-R Nabil Bentaleb, Sean Longstaff, Valentino Lazaro, Yoshinori Muto and Joelinton warm up (Image: Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Sean Dyche’s men are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games and still harbour ambitions of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.

Newcastle will want to win ahead of Thursday’s FA Cup fifth round trip to West Brom and it is a four-day period which could make or break Steve Bruce’s first season in charge.

So how do the pundits and our writers see the game going?

You can read the full story here.

Pundit on Rangers' link to Longstaff

Former Scotland international and Aston Villa and Tottenham defender Alan Hutton believes Rangers would have been a “great move” for Sean Longstaff.

The academy graduate recently revealed that Steven Gerrard was keen to bring him to Ibrox ahead of his first-team breakthrough last season.

Speaking to Football Insider, Hutton said; “I think that would have been a great move.

Sean Longstaff strikes the ball and scores in a two team drill
Sean Longstaff strikes the ball and scores in a two team drill (Image: Newcastle United via Getty Images)

“He’s gone on to show his qualities, he’s done really well for Newcastle, obviously under Steve Bruce now, so I think it would have been a great talent to have on board.

“With someone like Gerrard at the helm would really nurture him, obviously being a midfielder it would really help him in his career. It’s one of those things, I’m sure over the last couple of transfer windows there’s been a lot of good players who have narrowly missed out.

“It just shows you the level of player and the scouting team that have that they’re picking up on these players. Hopefully, in the future, they can carry on with that.”

New club for Bartlett

Former United academy forward Tyrique Bartlett has signed for South African outfit Cape Umoya United, according to Goal.

The 20-year-old was one of three signings to feature in the 2-0 defeat to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila this afternoon.

Newcastle united under 23s vs Wolverhampton Wanderers under 23s, Tyrique Bartlett goal
Newcastle united under 23s vs Wolverhampton Wanderers under 23s, Tyrique Bartlett goal (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

Trio in contention

Jonjo Shelvey, Javier Manquillo and Dwight Gayle are all in contention for roles against Burnley at St James’ Park this weekend.

The Magpies are aiming for three points to put even more distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

And Steve Bruce’s options have been boosted by the return of Spanish defender Manquillo and former Liverpool man Shelvey.

Steve Bruce looks on during a Newcastle United training session earlier this month
Steve Bruce looks on during a Newcastle United training session earlier this month

It means that Bruce has a major decision to make in his midfield engine room, where Sean Longstaff and Nabil Bentaleb have been starters in recent games.

But Bruce indicated some players would be receiving disappointing news ahead of the game with the Clarets.

You can read the full story here.

Sean Dyche unsure which Newcastle will turn up on Saturday

Will it be nervy, or will Newcastle come out all guns blazing?

Savage's prediction

Robbie Savage has tipped United and Burnley to share the spoils in a 1-1 draw

The Mirror story reads: “Newcastle still aren’t safe in 14th and have lost back to back league games.

“Steve Bruce’s side host Burnley at St James’ Park but it won’t be easy, the Clarets have picked up seven points from the last nine available.”

Robbie Savage looks on during the FA Cup Third Round Replay match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park
Robbie Savage looks on during the FA Cup Third Round Replay match between Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United at Ewood Park

Burnley 'ready to deliver'

Burnley boss Sean Dyche insists his side are “ready to deliver” this weekened against Newcastle United.

Speaking to the club’s website, Dyche said: “We will be well supported up there and the fans get rewarded for their backing, because this group give them everything.

“We have our ups and downs, but this group give a lot to the fans through sweat on the shirt.

Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley looks on prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City at Turf Moor on December 03, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom
Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley looks on prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City at Turf Moor on December 03, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom (Image: Getty Images)

“They know they will get a shift out of the players and that will never go out of fashion, in my view.

“Fans still enjoy that and not many times have we let them down on that score, so we go up to Newcastle ready to deliver.

“Good runs don’t solve everything, but they do give you a feel-good factor and within that run there have been some big performances.

“There are still things we can do better; there always is, but it’s been the level of consistency we’ve found that has been pleasing.”

Team selector

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Solano defends Joelinton

Nobby Solano has defended Newcastle United’s £40million man Joelinton - and insists the chronic lack of service is making him look like a bad player.

Solano admitted he’d love to still be playing, just to whip a few first time balls to his feet from the flank and give the Brazilian something to feed off.

Joelinton of Newcastle United FC (9) arrives for the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on February 22, 2020
Joelinton of Newcastle United FC (9) arrives for the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on February 22, 2020 (Image: Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The Peruvian did so on many occasions for Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy during the Sir Bobby Robson era.

But he feels that criticism of Joelinton is not completely fair on the summer signing from Hoffenheim.

You can read the full story here.

'Good news' for Barlaser

Magpies loanee Dan Barlaser has received “good news” in initial scans on an ankle injury which saw him stretchered off in the draw with Coventry.

Speaking to the club’s website, Rotherham boss Paul Warne said: “Dan went for a scan. He wasn’t in too much pain when he took the protective cast off.

“He had movement, but obviously when it got pressed it hurt. There’s no massive surprise there.

Rotherham United's Dan Barlaser scores his side's second goal from a free kick during the Sky Bet League One match between Rotherham United and Blackpool
Rotherham United's Dan Barlaser scores his side's second goal from a free kick during the Sky Bet League One match between Rotherham United and Blackpool

“The scan results are really positive, they couldn’t see any ligament damage. However on one side they can’t see it, they’re going to have to wait for the swelling to go down to reassess maybe tomorrow [Friday] or Monday.

“So far it’s been good news. Maybe it might be a week or 10 days as opposed to three months. We’re hopeful for Dan.

“Although he’s an integral part of our team and a hugely popular character, I don’t like to see any of the lads in pain. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

Lawro's prediction

BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted a 1-1 draw for the Magpies against Burnley tomorrow.

Writing for BBC Sport, Lawrenson wrote: “Newcastle have been sucked back into the relegation fight after going four games without a win - their recent performances have been pretty poor, and they are finding goals hard to come by.

“Burnley’s form is the polar opposite, and has put them in the picture for European qualification.

“I am not expecting a thriller - this will be a tight battle much like it was when they met at Turf Moor in December and the Clarets edged it.

Mark Lawrenson
Mark Lawrenson (Image: Daily Mirror)

“This time, I am going to go for a draw. That would not solve Newcastle’s problems, but it would inch them a bit closer to safety.

“As for the Clarets and a possible return to Europe, I would question whether they would want to be back in the Europa League.

“It was fantastic for the club when they made it in 2018, but I think their fans would remember how it impacted on their league form and say: “Hold on, this messes our season up.”

Dyche's verdict

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is unsure how Newcastle United will approach their upcoming clash given their recent form.

Magpies’ boss Steve Bruce is expected to make changes for Saturday’s encounter following a poor run which has yielded just one win in nine Premier League matches.

Talk of an outside chance of mounting an unlikely push for European football has quietened down, with Premier League survival the main topic on the agenda.

Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley applauds fans prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Newcastle United at Turf Moor on December 14, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom
Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley applauds fans prior to the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Newcastle United at Turf Moor on December 14, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom (Image: Getty Images)

Although United enjoy a seven-point cushion over the relegation zone, the recent run has seen Bruce’s side slip to 14th and they failed to muster an attacking threat in recent defeats at Arsenal and Crystal Palace.

Burnley are the latest visitors to St James’ Park, and the Clarets arrive on Tyneside in fine form. Dyche’s side have won four of their last five Premier League matches, and a win against Newcastle would lift them above Arsenal in the table.

A strike from Chris Wood was enough to settle the contest at Turf Moor in December but despite United’s recent poor form, Dyche still expects a “competitive” encounter.

You can read the full story here.

Steve Bruce on system

Bruce has been speaking this morning about possible changes for Burnley.

Andy Carroll

The story behind Andy Carroll’s £30m switch - from the Liverpool end

Steve Bruce on the blow of losing Ciaran Clark

“I think he’s been excellent.

“It’s been cruel for us, Matt Ritchie after a tackle, now Ciaran and Dummy before him.

“When that happens you can’t legislate for it. It’s bad news for all of us.

“Even with Dummy and Ciaran out we still have four, in that area we are quite strong.”

How NUFC are taking measures against the coronavirus

Steve Bruce says Newcastle have banned handshakes from the training ground.

“There is a ritual here where everybody shakes hand.

“We have stopped that. We have a superb doctor here and he advised that.

“Let’s hope we can stop it in this country.

“If that is how it has to be so be it.

“In confined areas you have to be careful.

“We are mindful of it.”

Swansea star's praise for NUFC loan man

Freddie Woodman saved a penalty for loan side Swansea on Tuesday but could not prevent them from falling to a 1-0 defeat to Fulham.

Nonetheless, his performance was praised by Swans midfielder, as he told their official website:

“That is what we have come to expect on Freddie, he is a fantastic keeper and a great lad as well,” said the midfielder.

“He really kept us in the game at the end and it was a valiant effort from him and the lads.

“To a man I thought we were fantastic tonight defensively and we need to draw the positives from the performance and go again on Saturday.

“It’s a game that we are looking to win. Blackburn is always a tough place to visit but it is another opportunity for us to pick up the three points.

“Now we have to dust ourselves down and get ready for another important game.”

Freddie Woodman of Swansea City
Freddie Woodman of Swansea City (Image: 2020 Getty Images)

Mick Quinn questions the desire of the Newcastle squad

Marseille join Matty Longstaff race

As talks continue to stall over a new deal for the Newcastle United youngster, interest is ramping up with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Italian giants Inter Milan and AC Milan are said to be interested and the Athletic report Marseille and at least one Bundesliga club are also monitoring his situation.

The report reads:

The Athletic understands that Italy’s Inter Milan and Marseille of France have expressed an interest in acquiring a player with significant sell-on potential. At least one club in the German Bundesliga are monitoring the situation.

Matty Longstaff
Matty Longstaff (Image: Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Sean Dyche will ‘wait and see’ whether nerves get the better of Newcastle on Saturday

Charlie Nicholas' Burnley prediction

The Sky Sports pundit is backing a 2-1 Newcastle win:

Burnley are in great form. I still feel in recent weeks they have had rode their luck, with the decisions that have come their way. That could run out.

Newcastle have had the opposite effect. They were sitting in a precious position of safety, but still have plenty of work to do, with three games to win and only 11 remaining now - I think this is where it begins.

Burnley are unpredictable. Dwight McNeil added a goal from a different area, Matej Vydra has come back and played well, while Jay Rodriguez has been scoring too. Steve Bruce knows it has not been great recently, but they know if they can get this win it will be a step closer to safety for them.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Charlie Nicholas answers questions during the Gillette Soccer Saturday Live with Jeff Stelling on March 19, 2012 at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Charlie Nicholas answers questions during the Gillette Soccer Saturday Live with Jeff Stelling on March 19, 2012 at the Bournemouth International Centre in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Jonjo Shelvey trains with Newcastle squad ahead of Burnley test

Sean Longstaff on his big challenge at NUFC

Longstaff wants to silence the doubters.

“To be honest, since I was a young lad growing up, it’s been the same.

“There have been people who have questioned whether I’m good enough right the way coming through.

“It’s about proving people wrong. I’ve got confidence in myself to come through whatever spell it is.

“It’s all a challenge, it’s all a part of learning, it’s all a part of playing football at the highest level. I relish that challenge, really.

“I think as much as it helps being from Newcastle, it can be a bit of a burden at times, because anything that does happen, you’re the first one to get pointed at.

“It’s a great pressure to have. It’s a pressure I’ve that always I’ve wanted since I was a young lad.

“It’s something I’m dealing with at the minute. I’m still loving every second of it.”