'Really awkward' - Charlie Nicholas predicts shock in Newcastle v Luton FA Cup prediction
Former Scotland international and current Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas says he is expecting Luton Town to get a result when they take on Newcastle United in their FA Cup clash on Saturday.
The Magpies will play host to the League Two leaders at St James’ Park having secured a win in their first match of 2018, Ayoze Perez netting the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory away at Stoke City.
Luton meanwhile sit four points ahead of Notts County at the top of England’s fourth tier and come into the clash off the back of a 4-2 victory at home to Lincoln City on New Year’s Day, although that did follow a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Port Vale in their last game of 2017.
Despite the gulf in league position, with 55 places separating the clubs across three divisions, Nicholas says he is expecting Luton to spring a shock on Tyneside, with the League Two club’s attacking play having caught his attention.
Predicting a 2-2 draw between the sides, he wrote on Sky Sports’ website: “After a great result at Stoke I’m expecting Rafael Benitez to make changes given it has only put Newcastle two points above the drop zone.
“He’s not got a big squad and they don’t score a lot of goals, so the idea of a comfortable afternoon is foreign for the St James’ Park faithful.
In contrast all we hear with Luton is they’re scoring four or five.
“They also have their problems defensively and will come to attack so I’m going for them to get a replay here in what is a really awkward one for Newcastle right now.”
Luton were on Tyneside for their second round clash in the FA Cup, beating Newcastle’s near neighbours Gateshead 5-0 to reach the third round and set up a clash at St James’.
The match could see Newcastle favourite Rob Lee’s son, Olly Lee, line up against his dad’s old side, having joined on a free transfer back in 2015 following the expiration of his deal at Birmingham City.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are looking to reignite a potentially record breaking swoop for an international playmaker in January.