Steve Bruce has let on he was a ball boy when United last played in a League Cup Final in 1976 – for those that don’t know, we lost 2-1 to Man City with the winning goal scored by Walker’s Dennis Tueart (you don’t think the pain just started recently do you?) – there’s a full piece in The Mail click here

Ahead of the Leicester Cup tie Bruce has said:

‘The cup competitions for any Premier League team – I learned this a few years ago – you only have to win four or five games to get there. We saw Watford get to the FA Cup final last year. It is something we will take seriously, so let’s see if we can get through. If Hull is capable of getting to a final and maintaining its Premier League status, then a club like this can too, surely?’

Well, all of that is true of course but Bruce may have to pick a team to face Brendan Rodgers’ side without: Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Allan Saint-Maximin, Christian Atsu, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton as well as Andy Carroll (I know, I know) and Dwight Gayle. Bruce may also decide to rest Sean Longstaff who is not yet 100% fit either. There is sure to be a lot of cynicism about some of the injuries as this seems to happen just ahead of all of our cup games be that with Pardew, McClaren, Rafa and now Bruce as Head Coach. Some times it all wears a bit thin.

Here’s a quiz question for you all …. how many Cup games has Mike Ashley attended at St James’ Park?

Meanwhile Harry Kane has expressed his incredulity at not being awarded a penalty on Sunday:

“If he had said ‘no penalty’ and the VAR said it was a 50-50, you can agree. I don’t know what the conversation was – whether he said he didn’t see it or not, but from my point of view, it’s hard to understand. It is hard to understand how it hasn’t been given. Just like when a keeper comes out, uses his arms and trips you up – it’s a penalty. I kind of tripped over his (Lascelles) arm and then his body. Whether it was deliberate or not, from my point of view it is hard to take. I said last week (after the Man City game) that sometimes you are going to get the rub of the green with VAR, sometimes not. I felt it didn’t go our way against Newcastle.”

It was also hard to understand why Harry Kane didn’t get a red card last season when he put his foot down the back of Florian Lejeurne’s calf and put our lad out for months with injury either but them’s the breaks, so no long face eh? Sorry.

Bruce has rejected criticism that he rushed Allan Saint-Maximin back early from his  hamstring injury … but he is now out for three weeks with a further hamstring injury after recovering from a hamstring injury so … :

“It wasn’t as if he trained on Friday then we said you must play on Sunday. He absolutely trained all week and was fit and available for every training session. It is disappointing. It has been a frustrating start for him. Hopefully we get a positive scan for him and a good result. We look to get over it and then the international break comes for us at a good time. If it’s not that serious, we are looking at three weeks and two of that is an international break. Let’s hope for his sake and ours it is good news.For him in particular it does come at a good time. We have bumps, bruises and knocks but for him in particular it will give him a break.” 

I know some journalists might not like us pointing stuff like this out but Rafa did brilliantly conditioning players and muscle injuries were rare in the last three years. Whereas under nuggets like Souness, Benton was like a WW1 Field Hospital … so conditioning does matter.

Speaking of Souness, the massive botoxed fanny has been critical of Miguel Almiron:

“12 games, no goals, no assists. He’s lightning quick but that’s just not enough at this level. You need to have a football brain and the ability to go with that pace. Now he’s 25, is he going to learn to have a football brain? It’s a big question mark”.

If ever there was proof of o Rafa’s assertion: Football Is A Lie …. it is statements like this from failures like Graeme Souness, widely regarded as the worst manager in Newcastle United’s history.  Almiron completely changed the way the team played last season and was pivotal to the late season form which transformed the fortunes of the team. Thart’s why he was consistently targeted for rough treatment. This is all slavver.

Speaking of big question marks though Graeme …. Jean-Alain Boumsong, David Murray, Willie McKay, Graeme Souness and Freddie Shepherd. Discuss. Graeme?