With Coach Graeme Jones back on club duty after his England
service and subsequent holiday, goals
from Jacob Murphy and Joelinton gave Newcastle a routine victory at the
Pirelli Stadium on Friday evening.
Clad in black and white again despite playing on the day of their away kit
launch, United were soon ahead.
Joelinton's pull back from the left hand side of the Burton box
was aimed at Isaac Hayden, but his mis-kick fell into the path of Murphy to
The Brazilian then doubled United's advantage just 54 seconds into the second
period, heading home Ryan Fraser's corner kick in front of the well-filled
Further United goals could have come from Murphy and substitutes Dwight
Gayle and Joe White, but League One Albion kept the deficit within
manageable proportions - although their best chance of the game was a Murphy
back pass that had Mark Gillespie scrambling.
As was the case at Rotherham on Tuesday, the continued absence of Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow
saw Freddie Woodman and Gillespie get 45 minutes each in what was United's
penultimate pre-season test.
Barring a miraculous return after for COVID victim Darlow, it's assumed that
Woodman will start next Saturday at home to Norwich City before making a
Premier League debut against West Ham the following weekend.
Aside from the goalkeeping conundrum though, a lengthening list of outfield
players unavailable now includes Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, Paul Dummett,
Jonjo Shelvey, Elliot Anderson and Javier Manquillo.
Wilson's absence here looks like a precaution to keep his hamstrings intact, while Miguel Almiron
is set to come back in imminently following his extra time off after the
Aside from the Saint-Maximin situation (officially "poorly" but with his
bags packed in the hall or stricken for the second time with COVID -
depending on what club insider you subscribe to....) there remains a
worrying lack of movement in terms of squad acquisitions.
That's hardly a great shock given the current lack of funds (or interest)
from the owner and was made more inevitable by the spate of contract
extensions handed out to try and minimise the tricky business of signing
Strengthening the midfield remains a priority despite what appears to be
healthy competition in that area, but our lowly status in the food chain
means that wait for scraps to fall from the table of the "big big" clubs -
and presumably the big and even medium-sized ones as well.
for Bruce to respond recently to questions about needing another forward by
pointing at having the choice of Wilson, Gayle, Almiron, Saint-Maximin and
Almiron seems to contradict his justification for keeping Andy Carroll last
season. Unless Jeff Hendrick has inherited the pony-tailed impact sub role.
Openly admitting that the club were yet to bid for any player, an inability
to function even in the loan market does nothing to suggest that things will
be any brighter in a fortnight when the real stuff kicks off - and paying
punters with their unrealistic ambitions of progress and entertainment
return, or at least some of them.