Steve Bruce confirms 6 players miss Leeds v Newcastle but better news on 2 others
Steve Bruce was a relieved man on Saturday.
Playing at home against the worst team in the Premier League, it looked nailed on that Newcastle were heading for a 1-1 draw against a very poor West Brom side at home.
However, in a rare moment of quality that was out of keeping with the game, subs Murphy and Gayle combined for the winner in the closing stages.
A run of 10 (11 if beating Brentford) games in only five weeks, even a draw would have piled the pressure on.
However, three points has put Steve Bruce in a far better mood and on Tuesday afternoon he has confirmed that Federico Fernandez is back in the squad having finished self-isolating, whilst Ryan Fraser will be in the squad after training and now returning from a hamstring injury.
However, Steve Bruce also confirming that at least six players will be missing at Leeds.
As well as long-term injured Dubravka and Dummett, the likes of Lascelles, Schar, Manquillo and Saint-Maximin will also still be missing.
With a bust schedule and some players potentially feeling extra fatigued due to the self-isolation period and / or the disruption to training, Steve Bruce states he is set to make a few changes for this Leeds game.
Whilst speaking highly of Isaac Hayden and the possibility of more games for him at centre-back, it surely makes sense that he will be given a rest, especially with Fernandez now ready to step back in.
Good to see Fraser at last back with the squad but it will be bench at best for him, though I fancy that both Gayle and Murphy may get a start at Leeds, having combined for that winning goal on Saturday after coming off the bench.
Steve Bruce pre-Leeds press conference and starts with fitness update:
“Fernández has tested negative and he is back.
“The big thing we are seeing from Saturday is fatigue so we’ll see how they are but I’m going to make changes.
“Ryan Fraser is fully fit and ready to go.
“He will be involved.”
Latest virus testing:
“Thankfully, we’ve all tested negative, so that’s three negative over the last six days so it does seem like we’ve overcome it.
“The crucial thing was shutting down the training ground and it’s paid dividends.”
On Isaac Hayden:
“We were light at the back which was unfortunate.
“I thought the performance of Isaac was terrific which has given me food for thought.
“The big thing for him was tiredness and fatigue.”
On dealing with a busy fixture schedule:
“We’re going to have to monitor it and approach it in the right way.
“The response from the players to get the win on Saturday was terrific.
“The first time we trained was on Wednesday so their attitude was there for everyone to see.”
On the upcoming matches:
“We’ve all been impressed with Leeds and Fulham now look like a different outfit to what they were. They’re difficult games but we have given ourselves a good platform going into a busy period.
“We’ve started well so let’s hope we can do the same again.”
“Physically they’re number one in the Premier League.
“They have the ability to run long distances very quickly and that’s something Bielsa has brought in.
“He’s top class coach and manager.
“They’ve blown teams away doing that and we have to be ready.”
Meanwhile Keith Downie of Sky Sports reported:
“Federico Fernández has recovered from Covid-19 and in the NUFC squad to face Leeds.
“Lascelles, Schär, Manquillo and Saint-Maximin still missing.
“Hayden is fatigued a little from the weekend following Covid battle.
“Ryan Fraser returns from injury and will make the bench.
“Steve Bruce says he’s likely to make two or three changes at Leeds because those that played after recovering from coronavirus are fatigued.
“We’re going to have to manage this situation and monitor it down the line.
“Isaac Hayden is tired – he climbed out of bed to play against West Brom.
“Isaac is arguably our fittest player so it just shows you that this thing (Covid-19) has no boundaries.”
“There’s 6/7 of them that got us out the Champ. They’re part of the fabric, been here a long time. Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie, Darlow, etc.
“Their resilience towards the Covid outbreak is no surprise. They are a real, good, genuine group and stuck together again.”
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