Could Newcastle United be kicked out of the FA Cup if they can’t field a team against Cambridge United?

The FA Cup trophy.  (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)The FA Cup trophy.  (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
The FA Cup trophy. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Newcastle United have been dealing with positive Covid-19 cases and injuries over the last seven days.

Newcastle United host Cambridge United in FA Cup this weekend after enforced postponements against Everton and Southampton.

A Covid-19 outbreak and a growing injury list saw requests for the two fixtures to be played at the later date approved by the Premier League last week.

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Nine days will have passed since the Magpies’ last game - a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 27 - when the League One side visit a sold-out St James’ Park.

The FA Cup third round tie is believed to be in no danger of being postponed - but, theoretically, what would happen if Eddie Howe felt he couldn’t field a team, given the selection shortage he has faced recently?

What the FA told NewcastleWorld

NewcastleWorld approached the FA with that exact question, and they revealed the Magpies wouldn’t necessarily be kicked out of the competition, but instead the potential situation would be referred to the Professional Game Board.

A FA spokesperson said: “Clubs competing in the 2021/22 Emirates FA Cup are expected to participate in fixtures as they are currently scheduled.

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“However, if a club does not have the sufficient number of eligible players available due to COVID-19, this should be reported to The FA at the earliest opportunity and would be referred to the Professional Game Board for consideration.

“Replays have been removed in both the Third and Fourth rounds of the 2021/22 Emirates FA Cup to alleviate the possibility of fixture congestion following several postponements in recent weeks and continued uncertainty ahead due to COVID-19.”

Which Newcastle players could feature against Cambridge?

It is likely Howe will hand starts players who have been on the fringes of his starting XI since his arrival in November.

Martin Dubravka has played the previous seven games with Karl Darlow - who was absent from the matchday squad versus Man United - as back-up.

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Should Darlow remain unavailable, the opportunity could fall to either Freddie Woodman or Mark Gillespie.

Depending on Paul Dummett’s fitness, this may be an ideal game to help the Geordie defender get the first minutes of the campaign into his legs.

In midfield, Jeff Hendrick is in line for start, while Matty Longstaff, if fit, could well be utilised after his loan at Aberdeen was cut short. Howe wants to judge Longstaff for himself before making a decision on his future.

Meanwhile, with Callum Wilson injured, and Allan Saint-Maximin likely to be back for the crunch Premier League clash with Watford on January 15, Dwight Gayle is a prime candidate to lead the attack.

Youngsters Elliot Anderson and Joe White - both on the bench against Manchester City and United - could also come into Howe’s thinking.

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