Newcastle vs Blackburn preview: Rafa Benitez not taking risks in FA Cup
Last Updated: 04/01/19 2:25pm
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez says he will not be taking risks when his side host Blackburn in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Magpies are two points above the relegation places in the Premier League, and Benitez is set to protect any players with niggles and important first-team players against Rovers.
He said: "I can't take risks. In terms of players with problems, I won't risk. The main thing is to approach the next game and try to win, for us it is to approach the game and try to win with the best team possible.
"Using players that are not involved - the ones who don't have a chance to play in the Premier League have a chance now. If they go through, they can play more."
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray wants his Championship team to enjoy the atmosphere at St James' Park.
"We're set to play in front of a big crowd and are looking forward to seeing how we get on in that environment," he said.
"We've gone to Elland Road, which was just about packed, we've gone to Bramall Lane, which was just about packed. This is the next challenge and it will be a great education for our younger players.
"We can't go to Newcastle and think about playing differently to how we usually do just because it's a cup game. We'll look to ask questions, but we're mindful that we will be up against a Premier League club with Premier League players, who know how to pick the right pass."
Mo Diame will not be available for Newcastle, while Ciaran Clark is not fit. Federico Fernandez and Karl Darlow are close to a return but will not be back in time to feature.
Sean Longstaff, Jamie Sterry and Freddie Woodman could all notch up some minutes, while Florian Lejeune is also set to be involved.
Derrick Williams is a doubt for Blackburn although Elliott Bennett and Ryan Nyambe (hamstring) could be in contention.
Loan pair Kasey Palmer and Harrison Reed have been given permission from parent clubs Chelsea and Southampton respectively to play.
Both Newcastle and Blackburn have won three matches each over the last six meetings between the sides in all competitions.
Blackburn have won on six of their last eight visits to Newcastle in all competitions, including their last trip back in November 2016 (1-0 in the Championship).
This will be Newcastle's 12th FA Cup match against Blackburn (W6 D3 L2) - Nottingham Forest are the only side they have faced more in the competition (16).
Blackburn Rovers have not won any of their last eight FA Cup third round matches when facing a side from a higher division (D3 L5), a run dating back to January 1986.