Eddie Howe answers Allan Saint-Maximin question - and drops Newcastle United hint vs Crystal Palace

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Eddie Howe could rotate his Newcastle United starting XI for the visit of Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup.

Eddie Howe has hinted at changes to his Newcastle United starting XI for the Carabao Cup clash with Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. Having named near-enough an unchanged line-up since the beginning of October, the third round cup tie is likely to present an opportunity to a number of fringe players.

In the previous round - a 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers - Howe fielded the likes of Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles, Elliot Anderson and Chris Wood. “We’ve got a combination of a few situations,” the Magpies head coach admitted. “We’ve got a lot of players that are eager to play and show their qualities.

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“We do have a number of games this week - a very tight turnaround of three games in six days - so we’ll try and make the right call for the team while acknowledging that we are desperate to progress in the cup. I’ve got to make those choices and get the balance of the team right.”

Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey could feature

Howe could use the tie to start key duo Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey after recovering from their recent injury problems. Saint-Maximin hasn’t started a match since August due to a hamstring issue, while Shelvey missed the opening months of the campaign after undergoing hamstring surgery.

“They’re quality players so, of course, they come into contention, as do the others that haven’t played as much as they would have liked due to the form of the team and my team selection being consistent based on those good performances,” Howe said. “I’ve got a lot of players desperate to play. I’ve got to try and get that selection right.”

Anderson, as a local lad, continues to be of interest. He too started at Prenton Park in the last round and has been used as an impact substitute during Premier League games. Matt Targett and Ryan Fraser are two players desperate to win their place back in Howe’s starting XI after their key involvement last season.

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Pope, Darlow or Karius Who starts in goal?

Howe said: “When you look at the squad we picked for Southampton and you look at the players that didn’t start, there is a lot of quality, a lot of players who have done historically well in the team. I’ve got no doubts about their ability to come in and do well if given the opportunity. It’s a great position for me to be in.”

Goalkeeper Nick Pope has played every minute in the league campaign so far but Howe also has Karl Darlow back from an ankle injury and Loris Karius waiting in the wings. Darlow played at Tranmere while Karius, who signed a short-term contract in September, is awaiting his debut.

“It’s the same as the outfield players really, we’ll make a decision on our team tomorrow,” Howe said. “We’ll finish training today and I’ll have a full idea of who is fit and available. I’ll make my decision overnight.”

Can Newcastle win the Carabao Cup?

Howe has made no secret of his dream to lead Newcastle to their first domestic trophy since 1955. And after the club’s excellent start to the Premier League season - third after 14 games - there is a growing hope it is only a matter of time before that long drought is over.

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“It is something we’d love to do, we would love to go far in the competition,” Howe said, “I’m reluctant to talk about winning things too early. We’re in the early stages of the competition and got a really difficult against a Premier League team. I believe we have the team and squad to cope but we need to approach every game in the right.”

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