Steve Bruce will be on the touchline for the first time as Newcastle United manager against Preston North End on Saturday, having not been allowed to be in the dugout for the friendly against West Ham United in China due to visa issues.
The Magpies manager oversaw his side defeat the Hammers 1-0 in Shanghai and will hope to have more positive results ahead of the Premier League season, in the final three friendlies of pre-season. Newcastle broke their club transfer record with the signing of Brazilian striker Joelinton, and we could expect more signings in the days to come.
PREDICTED NEWCASTLE UNITED LINEUP vs PRESTON (3-5-2)
Newcastle’s No. 1 keeper, Martin Dubravka, will most likely start the game against Preston, having played the entire game against West Ham.
Bruce played a 3-5-2 formation against West Ham United, which was similar to what the previous manager Rafa Benitez usually employed. Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schär, and Ciaran Clark started against West Ham, and we could possibly see the same back three, with Federico Fernández possibly replacing one of the three central defenders.
Jonjo Shelvey had a brilliant game in midfield against the Hammers, and we could see him reprise the creative role in central midfield, and he could be joined by Sean Longstaff – who played the second half of the game against West Ham. Jack Colback, who featured in both pre-season games, could also start for the Magpies, having been on loan to Championship side Nottingham Forest last season.
The wing-backs/wide midfielders for Newcastle will have a lot of work to do in attack and defence. Matt Ritchie started on the left, while 23-year-old Jamie Sterry started on the right against West Ham. Sterry had a good game and could keep his place on the right, while Rolando Aarons could get a chance on the left.
We could see new signing Joelinton start for Newcastle United against Preston North End, having signed for the club this week. It remains to be seen who will join him in attack. Miguel Almiron showed sparks of his brilliance last season and also impressed in Copa America for Paraguay recently. He could maybe play as the second striker for the team, while there is a strong possibility that the lone goalscorer from the game against West Ham, Yoshinori Muto, could join Joelinton in the attack.