What should be one of the highlights of the League Cup third round is likely to become a contest between the fringe players of both Manchester United and Newcastle as both prioritise the Premier League and their European competitions respectively.
Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to fully rotate his team, with Darren Fletcher set to make his first start in 10 months as he recovers from a chronic bowel conditions, after the Scotland captain’s substitute appearance against Galatasaray in the Champions League last week.
Elsewhere in the United team, fringe players they may be but the quality of Ferguson’s squad is laid bare with the likes of David De Gea, Alex Buttner, Anderson, Nick Powell, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all vying to feature with Robin Van Persie, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick likely to be given the night off. New Chilean signing Angelo Henrique could be given his debut in a midfield or forward position.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has defined the League Cup as his fourth priority even after the Europa League and FA Cup and so is expected to make sweeping changes to his line up.
Tim Krul and Danny Simpson still have not recovered from injuries but key duo Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote could both be handed starts as they continue their comebacks from lengthy lay-offs.
Elsewhere, fringe players Dan Gosling, Gael Bigirmana, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi and Roman Amalfitano could all feature as they have done for the club in the Europa League so far this season, where Pardew has rested several first team regulars.
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