The frustrating Newcastle United thing Eddie Howe didn't do v Fulham amid 'concern' for £105m duo

Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United show appreciation to the fans following the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on January 27, 2024 in London, England.Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United show appreciation to the fans following the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on January 27, 2024 in London, England.
Dan Burn and Bruno Guimaraes of Newcastle United show appreciation to the fans following the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Fulham and Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on January 27, 2024 in London, England. | Getty Images
Newcastle United cruised through to round five of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win over Fulham.

Newcastle United are proving to be one of the most newsy clubs in the Premier League this month. Exit talk, top flight struggles, derby wins and more - it's been anything but boring on the Magpies' beat.

While transfer window talk continues to dominate, they secured a place in round five of the FA Cup and it barely got a mention in Eddie Howe's post-match press conference, such is the direction of travel at United.

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Goals from Sean Longstaff and Dan Burn at Craven Cottage ensured Newcastle's name is in the hat in the last 16.

Here's a look at what Howe said, how the match was won and what comes next for the Magpies ahead of a potentially season-defining week.

Transfer window uncertainty continues to unsettle at United

Looking at Eddie Howe, he looks unsettled by what is going on in the transfer market. When asked directly about possible exits, he could not rule it out. Reading his demeanour, it's clear to see he does not want it.

Howe was stated he'd close the window now if he could. These were not the words of someone who is comfortable about the situation. And it is easy to see why - Howe needs players in, not ones leaving. At this stage, however, the former seems more likely than the latter.

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Improved Miley - getting to grips physically?

This, for me, was a real positive show from the teenager. At times in his early Newcastle career, like any young player, Lewis Miley has drifted in and out of games, influenced in patches but struggled in others. That's no criticism, by the way, it is to be expected.

While he was passed by a touch in the first, his second half performance was a bit of a coming of age. Miley won tackles and got up and down to support his back four and front three. He showed a physical side to his game - and long may it continue.

Fitness still an issue?

Fitness, and a lack of it, still appears to be a hangover of exertions from earlier in the campaign.

You'd have thought two weeks off would have eased that slightly, but still the likes of Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon looked cooked after an hour. And still, Howe refused to make changes. It is a bit of a frustrating one, although it does obviously have justification, given options are so limited.

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I feel, with a game so soon after, Howe could have given his tired forward line more of a break with the game feeling like it was won at 2-0. But the head coach knows best. Does make you wonder how much this win may have taken out of the tank, however.

End of an unwanted record - now for an 'easier' draw

This was only Newcastle's second win over a Premier League side in this competition since their run to the semi final back in 2005. For context, they'd only beaten Blackburn Rovers, then a top flight side, in this competition in nearly two decades. This brought an end to that very unwanted record.

What Howe & Co could do with now is a much easier on the eye draw. A bit of a gimme at home would not go amiss.

Looking at the draw numbers - United are No.16, by the way - a low number at St James' Park would be the perfect tonic. The draw, for the record, is on Sunday afternoon, live on ITV.

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Improvement needed - but we already knew that

This was all about the winning. It would have been no good putting a show for the ages and going out, as has happened in other competitions in recent times. Instead, an ugly win is just what the doctor ordered.

Now the FA Cup next round is in the bag attentions turn to Tuesday night and getting the ball rolling in the Premier League again. It's fair to say Newcastle will need to improve if they're to get anything in the Midlands, but that's nothing we didn't already know.

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