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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Blackburn v Newcastle: Howe talks up FA Cup ahead of Rovers clash

Eddie Howe says watching yesterday’s EFL Cup final has given him extra motivation to help guide Newcastle back to Wembley in the FA Cup.

Newcastle reached last season’s EFL Cup final only to lose to Manchester United with their wait for a major domestic trophy now standing at 69 years.

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They visit Blackburn in the fifth round of the FA Cup tomorrow night knowing it represents their only chance of silverware this season.

Howe said: “It’s what we are here for. The cup competitions are so important and we want to go as far as we can.

“Watching the game yesterday brought back a lot of memories from last year. In many ways, that got me even more up for this game. I hope for more experiences to come like that in the FA Cup.

“For me the FA Cup has always been one of the most important competitions. I was brought up with it being the most important competition in the 1980s, it was the be all and end all. In many ways your season was based around how you did in the FA Cup. That is not lost on me.

“I always take it seriously and want to try to progress in it. We have to take it seriously and I want us to embrace it.

“It is a huge game for us.”

Newcastle go into the game on the back of Saturday’s 4-1 thumping at title-chasing Arsenal.

Howe added: “No one individual let us down. None of us, myself included, were at our best against Arsenal and when you are not at your best you get punished.

“You have to park it – the next challenge is always the most important. Football is a game of emotions. We have been working on that – on how to deal with the emotions, positive and negative.”

The only positive to emerge from Saturday’s game was the return of Joe Willock, who came off the bench to score a late consolation at the Emirates.

“Joe is very close to starting. He has done a lot of work,” Howe said. 

“Although people have only seen the 30 minutes he played against Arsenal, he has done a lot of work behind the scenes to get himself in this position, so that will be a judgement call.”

The former Bournemouth boss is also hoping to see a better display from Dutch defender Sven Botman who was repeatedly exposed against Arsenal’s pace and movement at the weekend.

Howe said: “Sven had a very serious knee injury and he has come back to fitness. I think he has improved with each game, but I think he is still working his way back to his very best levels.

“With his knee injury it is something we are monitoring and we hope he continues to not feel his knee and that he is able to adapt to Premier League football.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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