Newcastle team news: Steve Bruce tipped to make huge change for Watford clash

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce is set to plump for a change in formation as he bids to lead Newcastle United to their first win of the season at Watford today, according to Newcastle World journalist Liam Kennedy.

What’s the team news ahead of the encounter?

Callum Wilson, who was Newcastle’s top goalscorer after finding the back of the net 12 times last season, has missed the Magpies’ last two fixtures having been forced off with a thigh injury in the 2-2 draw with Southampton last month.

Head coach Bruce has refused to reveal when Wilson is likely to return to contention and, in the meantime, Joelinton and Dwight Gayle are the only senior strikers at his disposal.

However, with Joelinton and Gayle yet to find the back of the net this season, Allan Saint-Maximin was deployed in the centre forward role against Leeds United last week and got his name on the scoresheet.

The Tyneside club were hit with another blow this week when £20million summer signing Joe Willock and club captain Jamaal Lascelles were ruled out of this afternoon’s trip to Vicarage Road after sustaining injuries.

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie has revealed Willock and Lascelles will be unavailable until after the upcoming international break due to toe and thigh problems respectively.

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What has Liam Kennedy said about Bruce’s possible team selection?

Kennedy has revealed Newcastle could move away from the 5-3-2 formation as they look to kick-start their campaign.

Bruce has selected a five-man defence in recent weeks but the Magpies have only secured two Premier League points and been knocked out of the League Cup at the second round stage so far.

Kennedy hopes a change in system will pay off against newly-promoted Watford.

The journalist told GMS: “You can see why they’ve only got two points on the board.

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“It’s going to be a tough season if they keep defending like this.

“But I think we’re probably going to see a little bit of a shift in formation and a shift in approach for Watford, so hopefully that brings some results.”

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Who could benefit from a change in system?

While he is a winger by trade, Saint-Maximin is likely to deployed as a centre forward once again and it could benefit his chances of adding to the two goals he has already scored this season.

Bruce’s wing-back system has resulted in a lack of opportunities for winger Ryan Fraser, who has yet to make a Premier League start since the campaign got underway, so he may benefit from a potential alteration.

Isaac Hayden could push back into his preferred position of central midfield after figuring in the heart of the Magpies’ back four in each of the last two fixtures.

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