Eddie Howe says Newcastle's League Cup semi-final is still 'in the balance'

Newcastle United are just 90 minutes away from booking their place in their first domestic final since 1999.

Eddie Howe's side already have a one goal advantage to take into the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Southampton, which will be played in front of a sold-out crowd at St James' Park.

Avoiding defeat would be enough to see the Magpies progress to Wembley - which would be only the second time in their history they have reached the League Cup final.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Eddie Howe was keen for his side to maintain focus and build on their performance from the first leg.

He said: "First half, we probably shaded it but second half - definitely for a spell of 20-25 minutes - they shaded it. We're indebted to Nick to make a couple of really big saves in the game.

"Overall, I was pleased with our performance but we know Southampton are a very strong team. They've added players in the window as well. I think they've got a big squad, a talented squad and a very talented manager.

"Certainly from our perspective, and I've drilled this into the players this week, this game is by no means over. This tie is not over, it's very much in the balance. We're going to need a top performance and we're going to need the crowd with us from minute one until the end and hopefully we can get through."

Southampton also faced an FA Cup tie against Blackpool on Saturday, while Howe and his players had a free weekend to "get out on the grass" and train ahead of the League Cup game.

Fans are once again being encouraged to bring their scarves and amp up the atmosphere for the fixture, as they did for the quarter final fixture against Leicester City.

The game kicks off at 8pm at St James' Park. If the sides are level on aggregate come full time, they will face 30 minutes of extra time and the prospect of a penalty shootout.

New signing Anthony Gordon will not be eligible to play for the Magpies, having made an appearance for Everton earlier in the competition.

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