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Newcastle United Monday reserve team selection affected by first team virus situation?

2 months ago
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The Newcastle United first team are back in action on Friday.

The squad set to travel for an 8pm kick-off at Villa Park, to be shown live by Sky Sports.

However, preparations have been confused / hampered due to an ongoing virus problem at the club.

Steve Bruce stating on Friday that there were three players who had tested positive for the virus, plus a member of staff.

That was then followed by exclusives in the media on Sunday, when it was leaked that a further two NUFC players had been found to be positive.

A confused picture at the club, especially with no official statement made. Although nobody can named as one of the positive cases without their permission, a club statement signed off by the official Newcastle United doctor wouldn’t do any harm, talking more generally about the issue / problems and reassuring everybody what is being done to deal with the challenges. I am not Steve Bruce’s biggest fan but I don’t think it should be left to him to give piecemeal updates as part of normal pre and post-match press conferences.

Ahead of Friday’s match at Villa, there is a Newcastle United Under 23s reserve match taking place today (Monday).

A noon kick-off at Whitley Park, this is the team and subs that were named.

Max Thompson

Ryan Barrett

Ludwig Francillette

Brad Cross

Tom Midgley

Niall Brookwell

Joe White

Stan Flaherty

Rosaire Longelo

Rodrigo Vilca

Yannick Toure

SUBS:

Oliver Marshall, Jude Swailes, George Rounsfell, Lucas Gamblin, Dylan Stephenson

The two names that stand out, due to not being there, are Dan Langley and Elliot Anderson.

Dan Langley is the 19 year old first choice keeper for the Under 23s and is also regularly seen on the first team photos that the club regularly release of the NUFC squad training. As recently as Wednesday (25 November) Dan Langley was included in the first team training images.

So no doubt many fans will wonder if Langley is potentially one of the virus cases, or are one or more of the senior goalkeepers amongst those testing positive and Dan Langley could potentially be involved at Villa Park in the 18 man first team squad? Max Thompson is playing today against the Wolves Under 23s in his first appearance of the season, with Oliver Marshall as cover on the bench.

Elliot Anderson only turned 18 this month but is seen as by far the best prospect to be set to come through into the first team.

He has been training with the NUFC first team for much of this season and indeed was on the bench once again at Crystal Palace on Friday night, though didn’t get on the pitch.

As well as training with the first team, Anderson has been made captain of the Under 23s and has been in tremendous form, scoring five goals from midfield in eight appearances.

A perfect combination, training with the first team but playing week in week out for the Under 23s to get the game time, especially when that is also generally against older players, rather than if he was playing for the NUFC Under 18s who he is also eligible for.

However, today Elliot Anderson is also missing for the Under 23s, which will once again leave fans wondering whether he is potentially a positive virus case, or due to other players testing positive, has found himself getting closer to first team action on Friday at Aston Villa?

If Anderson has been left out simply as a precaution to cover for others, it isn’t ideal for him if this situation ends up proving ongoing, because young players need pitch time as well, even if training with the first team.

Just had a look and the Under 23s are trailing 2-0 to Wolves, no doubt missing Elliot Anderson in particular.

The virus situation was always going to affect Newcastle United at some point, as it already has done at many other clubs.

Hopefully the measures in place at the training ground and at first team matches will allow the club to successfully limit the issue to the positive cases reported so far, whilst on Friday fans will no doubt be guessing once again who is missing due to the virus, in the absence of any official announcement.

Pre-season guidance sent to clubs, said that postponements would only be allowed in the most extreme of circumstances. Only if less than 14 players were available would any game be considered as a potential postponement, with clubs also expected to include Under 23 players in their squad if they had a minute or more of first team experience.

The Newcastle United first team squad are set to return to training this (Monday) afternoon.

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