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Fraser set for United debut against Blackburn, says Bruce

Written by Luke Vinton

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce confirmed Ryan Fraser will make his Magpies debut in Tuesday's Carabao Cup clash against Blackburn Rovers (kick-off 7.30pm BST).

Newcastle host the Championship outfit in round two of the competition, with Bruce's side aiming to book a third-round meeting away at Morecambe or Oldham Athletic, both of whom ply their trade in League Two.

Bruce said that Fraser, who joined United on a five-year-deal last week after leaving AFC Bournemouth in June, will feature at St. James' Park tomorrow night along with defender Ciaran Clark, who has managed just 45 minutes during pre-season since a lengthy lay-off with an ankle injury sustained in February.

"Ryan Fraser will make his debut," Bruce said. "Ciaran Clark will play who hasn't played for a long time and there's some players who need a game but the squad is big enough to make those changes and let's hope we can get through to the next round.

"We'll take it seriously but the competition is condensed by seven weeks so we'll play a lot of games in a short period of time. I had seven (substitutes) behind me on Saturday who all played in the team last season.

"I have a squad and I will make changes and when I look at what I've got in strength then I still expect us to get through.

"I think that will be vitally important for the players who haven't played. The one thing we've struggled with, since I've been at the club, is playing the amount of games over Christmas last year and playing Saturday, Tuesday and Saturday.

"We struggled with that, and towards the back end of lockdown, so we will be making changes but I still expect us to be getting into the next round."

Newcastle began their Premier League campaign with a terrific 2-0 victory at West Ham United on Saturday night, with Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick marking their debuts with a goal each along with defender Jamal Lewis keeping an impressive clean sheet in his first United appearance.

Bruce was pleased with the trio's immediate impacts for the Magpies at the London Stadium and believes his five summer signings, including Fraser and goalkeeper Mark Gillespie, have been a welcoming boost to the squad.

He added: "There's nothing better for anybody to go away from home and win, especially in the Premier League because we know how difficult it is. It wasn't just the victory that pleased me, it was the way we went about it.

"With the three new faces in the squad, it looked like they'd been there for years, never mind a week, which pleased me and all three had wonderful debuts. All in all, we've had a decent start but we won't get too carried away after one result because there is still a long way to go.

"We felt that we need people who come and in and don't have a problem with language, settling into this country or getting into the Premier League. Can we have people who can hit the ground running straight away?

"When you sign the personalities we have done along with the ability they have - I'm delighted they've come into the club and they gave everyone a lift at the right time, which was good to see."

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