STEVE BRUCE intends to make significant changes to his starting line-up for Newcastle’s Premier League game at Bournemouth tomorrow night, a match that will be the club’s fourth in the space of 11 days.

Matt Ritchie remains touch and go because of the soft-tissue injury he sustained in last week’s draw with Aston Villa, but there were no new injury worries to emerge from Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.

However, with the Magpies in action at the Vitality Stadium tomorrow and due to host West Ham United at the weekend, Bruce accepts there will be need to shuffle his pack to guard against fatigue.

The Newcastle boss said: “With four games in 11 days, I am going to use part of the squad.

“I think we’ve got a clean bill of health. We left Jonjo (on the bench against Man City) and Nabil (Bentaleb) was suspended at the weekend, so that will come into the thinking.

“I think it’s only right that I freshen us up. I don’t want to go to down Bournemouth, with them not having had a game for a week, and not acknowledge the fact that a fourth game in 11 days for us is a big call. I will be making some changes, and hopefully that pays off.”

Newcastle head to Bournemouth on the 39-point mark, 12 points clear of their opponents, who currently fill the final relegation place.

Their exit from the FA Cup means, to all intents and purposes, their season is as good as over, but Bruce insists he will still be able to keep motivation levels high in the remaining seven league games.

He said: “I think, over the last five seasons, the average points total the club has achieved is something like 42 points. We’ve given ourselves a wonderful opportunity to be better than what we’ve averaged over the last five years.

“That’s got to be the aim for them – we have to try to finish as strongly as we possibly can. It’s going to be difficult because we’ve got the teams at the bottom and of course we’ve got the top teams to play as well. Our form has been decent since we’ve changed to a back four, so let’s hope that keeps improving and we can improve on where we’ve been for the last few years.”