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Joe Willock returns but Steve Bruce confirms 6 other Newcastle United players missing

1 month ago
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Steve Bruce has been talking to journalists ahead of Friday night’s away game at Leicester.

Fulham picking up only one point from their last six matches means that they have done everything possible to keep Newcastle United in the Premier League.

However, a dangerous plan to simply rely on Fulham’s failings to see Newcastle over the survival line.

Steve Bruce has Newcastle fourth bottom and if United lost to both Leicester and Man City, whilst Scott Parker’s team beat Burnley at home and Southampton away, that would mean Fulham only three points behind with two games each to play. Scott Parker knowing they entertain NUFC on the final day when they could erase any three points or less Newcastle advantage.

The simple route of course, is for Newcastle United to grab survival themselves on Friday night with a win. Newcastle won at the King Power in 2017/18 and 2018/19 but when Steve Bruce took charge, it was a horrendous 5-0 hammering last season.

When it comes to team selection to hopefully bring about that victory, Steve Bruce has given a Thursday update on fitness and availability.

Elliot Anderson was on the bench against Arsenal last Sunday but not has a hip injury and is set to miss the rest of the season.

Earlier today we discovered that Fabian Schar had lost his appeal against the red card in the Arsenal match, so he misses Leicester, Man City and Sheffield United, only that final game at Fulham is a possibility now for Schar.

Steve Bruce says no new injuries to senior players, though no injured players set to return either.

Both Karl Darlow and Ryan Fraser  are currently recovering from operations, whilst Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles also are unavailable for Leicester and almost certainly the other three matches.

So in total, at least six Newcastle United players ruled out for tomorrow night.

However, Joe Willock is available once again, the Arsenal midfielder ruled out last weekend as he couldn’t play against his own parent club.

The very strange handling of the loan player by Steve Bruce has been beyond bizarre. Bruce claims he would love to buy Joe Willock in the summer and build the team around him, yet he can’t even get a game ahead of Shelvey and Sean Longstaff at the moment. It is now seven weeks since Joe Willock started a game, despite him having scored four goals from seven starts and three sub appearances. Three of the four goals coming in the three recent games where he has come off the bench.

Steve Bruce speaking at his pre-Leicester press conference:

“It’s a big game against really good opposition.

“So can we go and get a result, play well and keep it (Premier League survival) in our hands?

“There is still a lot to play for and my aim is still to get near to the points we got last year.”

Future plans…

“You are always quietly planning away for next season of course.

“But the big discussions have been put on hold until we know exactly where we are.

“Lets make sure that we are a Premier League club.”

Team selection / availability:

“Callum Wilson is over his injury which is vitally important.

“He’s had 90 minutes under his belt which is good for his mental state as well that he knows his hamstring is OK.

“Everybody (else who was in the squad against Arsenal) is OK (with no new injuries to senior players).

“Obviously we lost the appeal with Fabian Schär so unfortunately he’s not available but everybody has come through the weekend unscathed.

“We thought it was harsh and I still do. We have to accept it, we thought it was worth an appeal and unfortunately we’ve lost it.

“It’s a crying shame for Fab because he’s worked tirelessly to get himself fit.

“Any young player, they go up and down a little bit but certainly Joe Willock has been knocking on the door.

“He has had a terrific time, with four goals from midfield in nine or 10 games.”

Steve Bruce speaking to BBC Newcastle ahead of the match at Leicester:

On Lascelles:

“It’s just time – a stress fracture of the metatarsal, you’ve just got to give him time.

“He’s out of the boot and we’ve seen him walking about the training ground now.

“It’s touch and go whether he’ll play any further part this season.”

On Elliot Anderson:

“He picked up a knock in the last game he played and it’s set him back a little bit.

“We’re not sure how bad it is but it’s a hip problem.

“He’s going to be struggling for the next couple of weeks.”

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