The Newcastle goalkeeper situation has been the major topic of conversation ahead of Saturday’s match and it looks as though the club have reached a decision.
The Shields Gazette report this morning that Rob Elliot’s thigh problem has improved this week, enough for Newcastle to risk giving him every chance of playing against Bournemouth.
The back-up plan according to their information is 18 year old Freddie Woodman, rather than an emergency loan goalkeeper.
On Tuesday night, first team coach Paul Simpson gave a strong hint that they were likely to go with Woodman and another 18 year old, Brendan Pearson, on the bench – if Elliot fails to make it.
Simpson also said that they were hoping that Rob Elliot would train on Wednesday (yesterday) and presumably he was able to do some training if the Shields Gazette’s information is correct.
The common sense view would also indicate that there was little intention of bringing in a short-term option, as surely this would have happened as soon as possible this week to allow a new keeper to work with his defence.
The parallels with last season are obvious and Jak Alnwick was an instant hero as he helped Newcastle to be the first team to beat eventual champions Chelsea, before it all fell apart for both him and the team.
A one-off proving to be a bit different to having to play week in week out as Alnwick did, the initial adrenaline rush only helping for a limited period.
Paul Simpson talking to the club’s official tv channel on Tuesday night:
“With Rob Elliot, he had a slight thigh strain, we had it assessed and it was assessed as a grade one, so not something serious. But he’d had the same injury previously which we’ve nursed him through.
“We tried him on Friday in training and he said he was fine. Then came in on Saturday and said it had stiffened up overnight and he was struggling with it. We felt as though he wasn’t going to be able to play but thankfully for the way the game turned out, Rob said ‘I’ll be ok’.
“There has been a bit of deterioration since the (Stoke) game and obviously with the game, so we continue to assess that. He hasn’t trained this week but we will keep an eye on him. There’s a possibility we are going to try him on Wednesday to see how he is.
“There is no point me speculating as to what we might and might not do if there is a problem. Let’s wait and see what happens with Robbie. If he is ok then we will go ahead with him for the Bournemouth game at the weekend. If he’s not, we have to have a think about what our options might be.
“Whether it’s the goalkeepers inside the club, the two young goalkeepers, or whether we need to look elsewhere…At this moment though we are keeping our options open because we are still hopeful Rob will be fit for this weekend.”