Could Matt Targett absence see a debut for Geordie boy Dan Burn?

Tomorrow, Newcastle United host Aston Villa in the Premier League and we could see a debut for local boy Dan Burn? Well, with the absence of Matt Targett, he may be offered the opportunity in a way that he perhaps wasn’t expecting when he signed on the dotted line last week.

Why is Matt Targett missing?

The answer to this one is fairly obvious but for anyone who is unaware of this, Matt Targett is ineligible for selection in tomorrow’s match due to the fact that he is on loan from our opponents. A loaned player cannot play a competitive match against their parent club unless the clubs decide to insert a clause in the loan agreement stating otherwise… which they did not.

Therefore, Targett is unavailable for selection tomorrow.

Dan Burn at left-back?

Left-back is a position that isn’t unfamiliar to Dan Burn, having played there on a number of occasions for Brighton. Being a left footed central defender is, alongside his versatility and staggering height, seemingly the thing that attracted Eddie Howe to the club. It’s something Graham Potter made use of too, often using him on the left side of a three or, like I mentioned earlier, from time to time at left-back.

Key players: Burn the rising star in Brighton defence
Dan Burn could fill in at left-back tomorrow as United host Villa in the Premier League

According to, Burn has played at LB on two occasions this season for Brighton, those occasions being the two EFL cup matches they competed in against Swansea and Leicester. Throughout his career, Burn has played there on 46 occasions – so it’s not as though it’s something new to him.

What of Javier Manquillo?

Last time out, Javier Manquillo came on in the second half of Newcastle’s trip to Elland Road last month and put in a stellar performance – even winning the free-kick that Jonjo Shelvey would score to give us all three points. So, the question is this: Why shouldn’t he be the one to get the nod here?

Key areas Eddie Howe's Newcastle United have improved since Magpies  takeover - Chronicle Live
Eddie Howe has a selection dilemma tomorrow with a couple of his dependable players unavailable

Well, he should, however he could be forced into action elsewhere. Newcastle’s newest hero and on-field stalwart Kieran Trippier had himself a blinder against Everton in the week, but trudged off at the end with what Eddie Howe described as a “slight calf problem”. As such, he is now expected to face a late fitness test for this one and is, as such, a major doubt for the visit of Steven Gerrard’s Villans.

Therefore, if I were the man in the blue Castore hoodie tomorrow, I’d likely want the versatile Manquillo to fill in at right back in the case that Trippier isn’t able to play. That then would open up the hole at left-back left by Matt Targett’s ineligibility for the 6’7″ Dan Burn to slot in.

Bruno in contention to play?

What of new signing Bruno Guimaraes? Will he play tomorrow? I bloody well hope so. Eddie Howe got his team selection in mid-week absolutely spot on, despite leaving Burn and Bruno on the bench. Joe Willock played in midfield and, for all his poor performances this season, the former Arsenal man was outstanding. Willock left the field in some pain late on but, if he is in the squad tomorrow, would it be harsh to drop him? Many would say so.

There is a huge appetite for Bruno to make his debut, and his five minute cameo against the Toffees left fans salivating. You’d imagine that the disappointment would be fairly massive if he was to be on the bench again tomorrow so Eddie will have had himself a headache this week trying to figure out what he will do. You’d also imagine Jonjo Shelvey’s position will be safe given his recent form and the fact he has been a mainstay since Eddie Howe came in – meaning it will be either Bruno or Joe Willock partnering him tomorrow.

There are definitely worse predicaments to have. A Brazilian international or a young English midfielder in very good form? Seems a far cry from where we were even just a few weeks ago.

What do you think? Is that how you’d approach it? Let me know on Twitter and follow me @TBOTT_. Bored, why not check out an NUFC related quiz here.

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