Manchester United face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday and the build-up is bubbling along nicely.
All eyes are on beginning to focus on the showpiece occasion, with sub plots adding to the drama of the Wembley final.
Newcastle will be without their number one goalkeeper on Sunday, after receiving a red card in their league defeat to Liverpool at the weekend.
As reported in The Daily Mail, Nick Pope’s suspension looks to have handed an early advantage to United.
The Newcastle ‘keeper handled the ball outside of his penalty area to receive his marching orders, in what was a rare mistake in an otherwise impressive season for Pope.
Despite the dismissal coming in a Premier League game, the ban carries to the final due to the Carabao Cup being a domestic competition.
It now looks as though Loris Karius will start between the sticks for the Magpies, despite not playing a competitive game of football for two years.
Martin Dubravka is widley regarded as Newcastle’s second in command in goal but in another bizarre twist in the tale, he cannot play on Sunday.
Dubravka is cup tied due to already playing in the competition, incredibly, for United. The Slovakian stopper featured for United in the early rounds during his loan spell at Old Trafford, therefore cannot play for his parent club.
As reported in The Sun, the only way for Dubravka to get his hands on a winners medal is if United beat Newcastle.
The ‘keeper crisis at St. Jame’s Park will certainly be giving Eddie Howe a headache in the lead up to the game, with his side hitting a sticky patch of form and United looking strong.
Both clubs will be desperate to end their respective trophy droughts, as well as picking up the £100’000 prize money on offer.
The total prize money for the winners will accumulate to £1,000,000, also reported in The Sun.
Aside from the prize money, Erik ten Hag will be looking for something that money can’t buy, a trophy at the first time of asking, and with that a springboard to what has the potential to be a magical 2023 for United.