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Introducing Elias Sørensen, Tom Allan and Lewis Cass

Written by Dan King

Despite a lengthy catalogue of injuries, Steve Bruce has named a strong starting XI, including seven full internationals, for Newcastle United's Emirates FA Cup third round tie at Rochdale (kick-off 12.31pm GMT).

But, with the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Allan Saint-Maximin, Paul Dummett, Jonjo Shelvey, Jetro Willems, Fabian Schär, Javier Manquillo and Andy Carroll all sidelined, three inexperienced youngsters have been included in the squad at the Crown Oil Arena.

Lewis Cass, Elias Sørensen and Tom Allan all boarded the team coach on Friday afternoon and could make their Magpies debuts from the bench against League One Dale.

Sørensen has recently returned from a loan spell with Carlisle United, and spent time with Blackpool last term. The 20-year-old Danish forward scored 20 goals for United's under-23s in 2018/19, despite heading to Bloomfield Road midway through the campaign.

He joined the Magpies at the age of 16 from HB Køge, where he had already become their youngest ever debutant when he came off the bench in a First Division game against Silkeborg IF. Sørensen has represented Denmark at under-21 level, but speaks with a Geordie accent.

He signed a three-and-a-half year contract extension 12 months ago and played for United's first team in pre-season.

Speaking to NUFC TV after facing Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League Asia Trophy in July, he admitted it was a "dream come true" and "the best feeling ever" - but a competitive debut in the FA Cup would surely surpass that.

Allan - a winger-cum-forward who played for Cramlington Juniors before joining United in 2012 - was also with the first team in China and since then has scored nine times for the Magpies' under-23 side in the first half of the season.

"Going into this season, I had a chat with a few of the coaches and it was a big goal to try and score more goals," he told nufc.co.uk last month. "That's going well at the minute and I just need to keep doing what I'm doing to help the team.

"For me, playing up front is not something that I'm not used to. I played there for a number of years and then when I worked with Ben (Dawson), he moved me out wide. I'm enjoying playing every game. That's all I've got to keep doing and try my best and see what happens from there."

A quick player who enjoys playing on the shoulder of defenders, Allan signed his first professional contract in July 2018 at the same time as Matty Longstaff.

Tom Allan and Lewis Cass get ready to travel to Rochdale

Defender Cass also penned his first professional deal that summer and the former John Spence Community High School has been on the bench for Newcastle before in a competitive fixture - he was an unused substitute at Fulham in the Premier League on the final day of last season.

He told nufc.co.uk at the time: "When I first heard the news I was going to be on the bench I was buzzing and I couldn't stop smiling. It is definitely one of the biggest moments in my career so far.

"It's something that I've always dreamed to be a part of since I was a young lad. When I found out I was travelling, it was great. I phoned my family straight away and they had the same feeling as myself.

"During the game, I got told to start getting warmed up with 20 minutes to go so the butterflies started. I was thinking to myself that I could make my Premier League debut here."

In the end, his opportunity didn't arrive that day but it could against Rochdale. Cass hails from North Shields and was taken to his first Newcastle United game by his dad, Mark, as Hatem Ben Arfa scored a sensational solo goal in a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers in April 2012.

Ludwig Francillette boards the team coach ahead of the trip to Rochdale

Ludwig Francillette, meanwhile, also travelled with the squad without making the final 18. He joined the Magpies in August after a successful trial period. The 20-year-old had spent time with Dijon and was also on trial at Scottish side St. Mirren during the summer.

Last year the tall and imposing defender - who has represented Guadeloupe internationally at youth level - played part-time football for AS Quetigny Football, a regional league club that plays in France's sixth tier and rarely attract more than 100 spectators for home games, before he caught the eye of Newcastle scouts.

"I'm very happy to be here," he told nufc.co.uk after signing for United. "It's an honour to sign with this club, because we know the story with French players playing for Newcastle, and the fans, and I'm very happy to sign. I hope everything will be good.

"It's a big club in the Premier League, which is the best league. I have seen a lot of games - I like the club and I like the city too. The fans love the club, and the fervour. If I give 100 per cent, the fans will give 110 per cent. I enjoy the proximity of the fans to the club.

"I want to progress in training, work hard and focus now."

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