Newcastle United’s miracle comeback against Everton should give them a massive boost heading into their FA Cup fourth-round tie with League One Oxford.
They looked dead and buried, trailing 2-0 at Goodison Park deep into stoppage time before a 94th-minute strike from Florian Lejeune was followed up by a 95t-minute effort from the same man to grab an unlikely point.
Steve Bruce described the comeback as ‘remarkable’ and will be hoping it will give his injury-hit Magpies some confidence as they face an Oxford side who have been going well in the third tier this season.
The Yellows are without a win in their last four league games but have been a formidable force, losing just three of their previous 19 League One fixtures.
Here’s our preview, predictions and team news ahead of the FA Cup tie at St James Park.
When is Newcastle v Oxford and where can I watch live?
Competition: FA Cup Fourth-Round
Venue: St James Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date: Saturday, 25 January 2020
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (UK time)
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Last five meetings: Newcastle v Oxford
19 October 1991: Newcastle 4-3 Oxford (League Division 2)
01 February 1992: Oxford 5-2 Newcastle (League Division 2)
28 December 1992: Oxford 4-2 Newcastle (League Division 1)
06 May 1993: Newcastle 2-1 Oxford (League Division 1)
28 January 2017: Oxford 3-0 Newcastle (FA Cup)
Aggregate Score: Newcastle (LWLLW) 10-16 Oxford (WLWWL)
Ones to watch
Newcastle Utd: Miguel Almiron
Miguel Almirón has now scored in three consecutive games for Newcastle:
⚽️ vs. Rochdale
⚽️ vs. Wolves
⚽️ vs. Rochdale
Oh, Miggy, you're so fine. pic.twitter.com/y0Kn9GObf6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 14, 2020
Newcastle’s Paraguayan midfielder has been in excellent form of late, becoming a lynchpin at the heart of the Magpies midfield.
He seemed to really struggle earlier in the season but has finally found his feet in English football, something which has proven quite timely considering Newcastle’s current injury problems.
If he can continue recent form, then Steve Bruce’s side should be able to avoid the potential banana skin this FA Cup tie appears to be.
Key stat: Miguel Almiron scored just once in 2019. He already has three in 2020 and it’s still only January.
Oxford Utd: Shandon Baptiste
Shandon Baptiste is Oxford’s very own, homegrown, midfield maestro. The 21-year-old has already attracted scouts from clubs higher up the football pyramid and with good reason.
His ability on the ball, as West Ham found out to their detriment during their League Cup mauling earlier this season, is well above League One level and his knack of finding the net in cup competitions this campaign has been impressive.
Baptiste netted a glorious goal against Hartlepool in the previous round, which highlighted all the attributes this young man has at his disposal. He will be Oxford’s one to watch on Saturday and has a bright future ahead of him.
Key stat: Shandon Baptiste has netted four times for Oxford this season with three of those coming in cup competitions, including one in the last round of the FA Cup against Hartlepool.
The Magpies have an injury list that would bring a tear to the eye of most managers.
Both Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems will be out for the remainder of the season, it was confirmed earlier this week, while Dwight Gayle, DeAndre Yedlin, Javier Manquillo, Yoshinori Muto, Jack Colback and Ki Seung-Yeung are also unlikely to feature.
That could see the Longstaff brothers keep their place after starting against Everton, and Christian Atsu may also retain his starting berth after featuring for an hour of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw.
Joelinton was taken off with 12 minutes remaining of that game and will be assessed after struggling during the second half while substitute hero Florian Lejeune did his chances of getting a start no harm whatsoever.
Andy Carroll remains a doubt after missing the trip to Merseyside while Nabil Bentaleb is set to make his debut follow a move from Schalke. Finally, Allan Saint-Maximin could start after not being risked at Goodison Park.
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Oxford United could be without star midfielder Cameron Brannagan as they head north to Newcastle. The midfielder missed the U’s clash with Gillingham due to a knee problem and remains a doubt.
James Hanson came through a behind-closed-doors game with Southend as he regains match fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines while Anthony Forde is making progress after breaking his rib against Shrewsbury in early December.
Malachi Napa continues to regain fitness from a broken leg while Matty Taylor misses out with a knee injury picked up against Ipswich.
James Henry will definitely not feature for the Yellows as he remains on the treatment table with a thigh strain.
Oxford will never have a better chance of beating Newcastle given the current fitness issues at St James Park, yet the Premier League side still has a lot of quality to call upon.
Their League One opponents have nothing to lose and will, therefore, be likely to play without fear, something that is often the case in FA Cup ties such as this one.
It sets things up for an open game but the Premier League outfit will still be favourites in what could be a cracking FA Cup tie.