Steve Bruce has given his press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s match against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park. In a rare moment, he has given a promising update on Newcastle’s injury crisis.
For tomorrow’s match, Bruce has confirmed that there are no fresh injury concerns. Both Federico Fernandez and Javier Manquillo made the bench for last weekend’s draw at West Brom. However, the extra week may see both in contention for starts tomorrow.
This is what Bruce said about the defensive duo according to Newcastle’s Twitter account:
“We’ve got no new injuries to report.
“Javier Manquillo has worked extremely hard and was a week or two quicker than expected so it was good to see him around it.
“Fernández is back amongst it too which is good news.”
Newcastle put in a stout defensive effort against the Baggies on Sunday. However, getting Manquillo in at right-back tomorrow would be a boost. As for Fernandez, he may find it difficult to unseat Ciaran Clark, who put in a masterful performance over the weekend. I don’t see Bruce making the decision to drop Jamaal Lascelles.
The best news to report is the excellent progress being made by Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron, and Allan Saint-Maximin. Bruce has revealed that their recoveries are going to plan. This is what Bruce said about the injured trio:
“Everything is going to plan [with Almirón, Saint-Maximin, and Wilson]. Almirón is making particularly good progress which is good news.
“The international break may just do us a favor so let’s hope they can keep responding the way they are.”
If Newcastle can get all three back after the international break that could be massive. The Magpies have just two matches left before the break. After tomorrow’s game against Aston Villa, a towering fixture at Brighton awaits before the two-week break.
Newcastle’s first match after the internationals is Tottenham at home on April 3rd. However, Newcastle must pick up some wins over the next two weeks to ensure we aren’t in the bottom three when the Spurs match arrives.
That is going to be very difficult without our star players as we witnessed last weekend at the Hawthorns. Bruce is likely to continue with the 4-3-3 formation as he proclaimed following last Sunday’s draw.
Hopefully, he’ll be a bit more adventurous with team selection for tomorrow. Both Matty Longstaff and Elliot Anderson were included in the training images released yesterday. The local duo had a good run out for the U23s on Monday.
Anderson seems like an excellent fit in one of the forward roles and hopefully, will at least be included in Friday’s matchday squad to provide another option from the bench. The next two fixtures are monumental and Newcastle need some heroes while we wait for our stars to return.