Newcastle United predicted XI vs Blackburn Rovers: Double change as Eddie Howe makes 'harsh' call

Newcastle United's predicted starting XI for the FA Cup fifth round clash away to Blackburn Rovers.

Newcastle United are looking to bounce back from Saturday evening's 4-1 defeat to Arsenal by booking their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for only the second time in 18 years.

Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers stand in their way as United boss Eddie Howe weights up changes from that heavy defeat in North London.

Indeed, Howe is considering starting Joe Willock at Ewood Park. The midfielder had been sidelined since November with an Achilles injury but marked his return with a consolation goal against the Gunners.

"It’s something I’ll have to discuss at length with the medical team and I think he’s very, very close to starting," said Howe,

"He’s done a lot of work although we’ve only seen the 30 minutes he played at Arsenal. He’s done a lot of work behind the scenes to get himself in this position so that’ll be a judgement call.”

Meanwhile, Howe is hopeful Martin Dubravka will be available. The Slovakian had started 15 consecutive matches in Nick Pope's absence but that run came to an end at the weekend when illness ruled him out.

Howe was unable to confirm if Dubravka would return against Blackburn when addressing the media on Monday but admitted he was hopeful.

He said: “We hope he’s improved. We hope he’ll be available for selection but at this moment in time we don’t know."

Loris Karius made only his second Newcastle appearance - the previous being the 2-0 Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United last year - at the Emirates Stadium.

Will Howe recall Dubravka - if fit - or stick with Karius? Elsewhere, Howe may also make some defensive changes having conceded a Premier League highest of 20 goals in 2024.

NewcastleWorld predicts how Newcastle United will line-up:

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