There was widespread belief amongst media and fans, that Newcastle had immediately started the process of bringing in an emergency loan goalkeeper after Rob Elliot limped off the pitch on Saturday.
After the game against Stoke, Steve McClaren revealed that Elliot hadn’t trained and had been injured all week.
Intimating that Rob Elliot shouldn’t have really played against the Potters, McClaren appeared to make clear that the third choice keeper had little or no chance of playing against Bournemouth.
Steve McClaren talking after Stoke:
“Credit to Rob Elliot, he wasn’t going to play, he has been injured all week. Woke up Saturday morning very sore but insisted on a fitness test and said he wanted to play.
“I thought he was heroic and showed great character. That is the kind of character we need in the dressing room.”
‘Fit for Bournemouth?’
“We probably don’t think so, it is an ongoing problem that Rob Elliot has had but we will assess it and take it from there.”
However, Tuesday has seen still no visible action from Newcastle United and indeed the Shields Gazette say that their understanding is that the club haven’t even started the process of getting permission for an emergency goalkeeper for Saturday.
Instead, they are waiting on the fitness of Rob Elliot, hoping he will make this vital match.
However, this appears to be a very high risk policy because surely if an emergency loan goalkeeper is looking more than likely, then Newcastle need to get the necessary permission and bring him in as soon as possible to train with his new temporary teammates.
The way things have worked out, this game at Bournemouth is arguably the club’s most important since the final one of last season against West Ham.
A win for Newcastle would almost certainly take the club out of the bottom three, whilst defeat would create a four point gap between the two clubs, with United then next facing four clubs (Leicester, Palace, Liverpool, Spurs) in the top half of the table.
It is all very well talking about having faith in 18 year old Freddie Woodman but it would be a really unfair predicament if the young keeper was asked to make his first team debut in such a vital game. Of course he is not going to knock it back and be keen to play but this is a decision that shouldn’t rest in an 18 year old’s hands.
I can’t help but feel that there is a major gamble going on with thoughts centring on the fact that there is a two week international break after Bournemouth, after which both Rob Elliot and number two Karl Darlow could be both fit and available.
If it was a throwaway game such as Manchester City away I’d be tempted to just let Freddie Woodman get on with it and get experience at the deep end in a game where we expect nothing.
However, sadly this trip to Bournemouth is undoubtedly a relegation six pointer and needs to be treated with the highest caution and respect.
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