St James' Park welcomes back fans as Newcastle host Sheffield United on Wednesday
10,000 Geordies will fill the stands of St James’ Park for the first time in 14 months on Wednesday night, as Newcastle United attempt to exact revenge for one of their most embarrassing defeats this season, as Sheffield United come to town.
It’s definitely a good job that no fans were in attendance when the Magpies visited Bramall Lane in January, when the Blades, who hadn’t won a game in 17 attempts previously, turned over a dire Newcastle side who looked as though they were heading towards the Championship alongside Chris Wilder’s side.
If fans had been there that night, Steve Bruce would have felt their full force. In a weird way, the pandemic has spared the Newcastle boss from unsurmountable pressure, and in recent weeks he’s managed to come up with a few results that have saved his boyhood club from the drop.
In fact, both sides are coming off the back of encouraging results. Newcastle were just the second team this season to put three past Manchester City, albeit in a 4-3 defeat, while Sheffield United beat Everton at Goodison Park thanks to 17-year-old Daniel Jebbison.
The Canada-born striker is set to start again for Paul Heckingbottom’s side, and could be a large part of their bid to return to the Premier League next season if his debut was anything to go by.
Sander Berge missed that win through an injury Heckingbottom described as “nothing to do” with the knee injury that made him miss most of the season, but he remains a major doubt for the trip to the North East. He’s part of an extensive injury list, one of the main reasons the Blades have struggled this season, which also features Oli McBurnie, Jack O’Connell, Ethan Ampadu, Oli Burke and Billy Sharp.
As for Newcastle, they’re unlikely to make too many changes to the one that put up an entertaining fight against Manchester City, with Joelinton continuing alongside Allan Saint-Maximin up front. The Brazilian is starting to show some promise after almost two seasons of struggle, and has three goals in his last seven games. Andy Carroll is also fit, as he has been for most of this season, but seems set for another sub role as he enters the final two games of his contract at St James’ Park.
Callum Wilson, Jamaal Lascelles, Karl Darlow, Ryan Fraser and Isaac Hayden are all out with injuries, while Fabian Schar serves the final game of his suspension.
Newcastle United take on Sheffield United on Wednesday, May 19th at St James’ Park. Kick-off is at 6pm.