Depressing news on the morning of the Stoke match as it has been revealed that Andros Townsend is a big doubt for tonight’s match.

The Shields Gazette report that the January signing has an (unspecified) injury problem and faces a late fitness test tonight.

Andros Townsend was one of a very small select group who could hold their heads up high after that thrashing at Chelsea, the winger keeping going to the end and scoring a great goal.

There was no mention of Townsend yesterday when Steve McClaren confirmed that five players would be back available for selection after various injuries, though another two key players would be ruled out

Probably the most important news was that Aleksandar Mitrovic is fit again following his injury against Chelsea and will almost certainly start against Stoke.

Paul Dummett is also fit again and is another who you would think will be an automatic starter at left-back.

Siem de Jong and Vurnon Anita are another two who McClaren has confirmed will be available but surely the best they will get is a place on the bench.

Jack Colback is the fifth one who is available and it remains to be seen whether he comes straight back into the team, with the issue clouded slightly because no mention of Cheick Tiote’s availability either way.

Less positive was the news that Chancel Mbemba remains out and with no idea given of when he will be back.

However, Fabricio Coloccini sounds as though he will be back before Mbemba but not for Stoke or the Bournemouth match three days later by the sound of it.

Messages sent by NUFC via their Twitter account after yesterday’s Steve McClaren press conference:

“We are assessing Colo every day but the next two games look doubtful.

“McClaren confirmed that Mitrovic, Dummett, Colback, de Jong and Anita are all fit again. Mbemba is not, however.

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