JJ Hooper

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

JJ Hooper will make his first start since December when Newcastle United's under-18s take on Blackburn in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup tonight (kick-off 7pm).

Greenwich-born Hooper comes into Dave Watson's side at the Sports Direct Arena having undergone a hernia operation after the third round win over Darlington.

The striker came from the bench to score the extra-time winner over Queens Park Rangers in the last round - his eighth goal of the season in 12 starts this term.

He replaces the injured Adam Campbell in one of two changes from the side which beat QPR. In the other, Alex Nicholson comes in for Steven Logan at right-back.

The rest of the defence - left-back Michael Riley and centre-backs Remie Streete and Louis Storey have been ever-present during the cup run so far, with Storey also yet to miss a game in the Premier Academy League this season. Goalkeeper Alex Baird is another to have played in all three of the cup games so far.

Marcus Maddison will play on the right wing with Michael Hoganson on the left. Ben Sayer and Brandon Miele will play in midfield with Dennis Knight just behind main frontman Hooper.

Options on the bench include Will Turton, who set up the winner in the last round after coming on as a substitute, Jamie Smith, who made his Reserve debut in last week's practice match against Hamilton, and Northern Ireland youth international Lee Toland.

Versatile Cumbrian teenager Logan and goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell are also included in the squad.

Newcastle United Under-18s (4-4-1-1): Alex Baird; Alex Nicholson, Remie Streete (c), Louis Storey, Michael Riley; Marcus Maddison, Ben Sayer, Brandon Miele, Michael Hoganson; Dennis Knight; JJ Hooper

Substitutes: Jonathan Mitchell, Jamie Smith, Will Turton, Lee Toland, Steven Logan