Preview: Newcastle United vs. Blackburn Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups
Newcastle United will kick off their EFL Cup campaign on Tuesday when they welcome Blackburn Rovers to St James' Park for the second round.
The winners of this clash will be facing either Morecambe or Oldham Athletic in the third round, which is set to take place the week commencing September 21.
Newcastle United marked their return to Premier League action in perfect fashion with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United on Saturday evening, with new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick both finding the back of the net for the Magpies.
The Newcastle faithful can feel optimistic about their side's fortunes in the top flight after an impressive transfer window, and Steve Bruce would undoubtedly love a cup run as the Magpies look to reach the EFL Cup final for only the second time in the club's illustrious history.
Newcastle's only appearance in the EFL Cup final came in the 1975-76 season, where they were ultimately defeated 2-1 by Manchester City at the old Wembley Stadium.
The Magpies have been knocked out at this stage of the competition three times in a row - twice to Nottingham Forest and to Leicester City last season - but they did manage to reach the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 edition.
In contrast, Blackburn's return to Championship action ended in disappointment as Bournemouth scraped a 3-2 victory over Tony Mowbray's side at the weekend.
Blackburn looked set to at least take a share of the spoils before Arnaut Danjuma netted Bournemouth's winner late on, but Mowbray was upbeat after the game as Rovers look to push for a playoff berth this time around.
Mowbray's players must now turn their attention to a competition where, like their midweek opponents, they were also knocked out in the second round last season, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United.
However, Blackburn have already made a winning start in the 2020-21 EFL Cup as they overcame Doncaster Rovers 3-2 in the first round, with Adam Armstrong bagging the winner from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining.
As is the case with Newcastle, Blackburn have only ever reached the EFL Cup final once in their history, but that proved to be a joyous occasion for Rovers, who defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the 2001-02 edition.
Newcastle knocked Blackburn out of the 2018-19 FA Cup after a replay when the sides last locked horns, and the two clubs have met in the EFL Cup twice in the last-16 stage, with Blackburn prevailing in both matches in the 1998-99 and 2011-12 seasons.
Newcastle form (all competitions): W
Blackburn EFL Cup form: W
Blackburn form (all competitions): WL
Newcastle's injury problems have been well-documented in recent times, and the Magpies are still without a number of players as the 2020-21 campaign gets into full swing.
Karl Darlow will continue to deputise in goal for the injured Martin Dubravka, while Fabian Schar, Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle and Ciaran Clark remain on the treatment table.
As far as any potential changes are concerned, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Emil Krafth could all be in line for starts, and former Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser could also make his debut for the Magpies should he be deemed match-ready.
With regards to Blackburn, Bradley Dack is the only long-term injury concern for the visitors, who otherwise have a fully-fit squad raring to go.
Joe Rothwell will look to start this game having come off the bench in the defeat to Bournemouth, while 18-year-old Tyrhys Dolan, who made his professional debut for Rovers against Doncaster, also featured at the weekend and will be hoping to play a part against Newcastle.
Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie; Almiron, Longstaff, Shelvey, Hayden, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton
Blackburn possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Bennett, Lenihan, Wharton, Bell; Travis, Rothwell, Holtby; Rankin-Costello, Armstrong, Brereton
We say: Newcastle 3-1 Blackburn
Blackburn will be travelling to St James' Park feeling capable of giving Newcastle a good run for their money on Tuesday, but the Magpies ought to be full of confidence following the manner of their victory against West Ham at the weekend. This should be an entertaining affair between two sides anticipating strong league campaigns, but we are backing Bruce's men to prevail in emphatic fashion and book their spot in the third round.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:curl