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Steve Bruce gives new interview on eve of first game(s) ‘Preparations have gone as best we can’

2 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce has continued his avoidance (boycott?) of all outside media ahead of the new season.

We had heard nothing at all from the NUFC Head Coach until the start of this week when he spoke to the club’s own NUFC TV.

Steve Bruce asked On Tuesday what he was looking to achieve at this week’s training camp and what’s most important: ‘Well of course, I mean if for example you ever got a few new players, or whatever, of course it is a great way to integrate them into the squad…’

Now as the training camp comes to an end near York, Steve Bruce once again talking to the club’s own NUFC TV but no outside media.

Asked to sum up how successful this past week has been, Steve Bruce declaring: ‘It’s been warm, hot, and all the rest of it, but the preparations have gone as best we can.’

Still not a single new signing despite the new season just four weeks away, Newcastle United also now left with no goalkeepers for most of the pre-season friendlies.

Martin Dubravka out injured and an official NUFC statement on Saturday (see below) revealing that Karl Darlow has covid and has to self isolate for 10 days, as do close contacts and fellow keepers Gillespie and Woodman.

Something which has led to a change of policy on tomorrow’s friendlies.

Newcastle were due to have a mix of first team players and Under 23s playing Harrogate and York, both games kicking off at 2pm on Sunday.

However, now it will be Under 23s facing Harrogate and the first team at York. Newcastle not wanting to mix the first team and Under 23 dressing rooms.

A little strange considering Harrogate are two levels higher, League Two compared to National League North York.

Steve Bruce indicating that it was because of Steve Watson, as to why the NUFC first team are playing the weaker opposition.

It remains to be seen when / if Steve Bruce does make himself available to answer any questions from journalists – after tomorrow’s game at York, hopefully.

Steve Bruce speaking to NUFC TV – Saturday 17 July 2021:

Interviewer:

‘The stronger team going to York, obviously you are looking forward to that one?’

Steve Bruce:

“Look, for me now it is all about preparation and the first week thankfully we’ve picked one or two knocks, which is normal, but it is all about preparation.

“We have got less than 30 days to West Ham, it is all about that build up and it is the start now of games [pre-season friendlies]. They come thick and fast over the next few weeks

“Pre-season is always a difficult time but the preparation has gone well so far.”

Interviewer:

“Steve Watson in charge of York of course, they’ll be good opposition won’t they?’

Steve Bruce;

“I have known Steven for a long long time and of course represented the club on many, many an occasion.

“We’re sending put our biggest, strongest squad that we can, because of the connection, it was with Steven and his association with Newcastle, so it should be a great day for everybody.”

Interviewer:

‘And with Harrogate, a great opportunity for the younger players?’

Steve Bruce:

“I had to ring the manager of Harrogate just this morning.

“We did say it would be a Newcastle United eleven, expecting some of the first team squad in there.

“With the problems we have got, he understands, but yes a good opportunity.

“But I would like to say, to all the people who thought some of the first team were going to Harrogate, we do apologise, we can’t mix up the dressing rooms between the first team and the Under 23s.”

Interviewer:

‘Final day of training before those games, looking back overall at the camp?’

Steve Bruce:

“What a difference.

“What a difference a year makes, we had a storm last year, even blew the tent away.

“It’s been warm, hot, and all the rest of it, but the preparations have gone as best we can.”

Newcastle United Official Statement:

Newcastle United can confirm that goalkeeper Karl Darlow has received a positive Covid-19 test result during routine testing at the club’s pre-season training camp near York.

In line with coronavirus protocols, Darlow is required to self-isolate for ten days. All other players and staff within the first team group have returned further negative test results following additional testing.

Two players – goalkeepers Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman – have been identified as close contacts and are also required to self-isolate for ten days despite receiving negative test results.

As a result, Newcastle United will now send a first team squad to York City on Sunday, while an Under-23s squad will travel to Harrogate Town to minimise mixing between the groups.

Everyone at Newcastle United wishes Karl a speedy recovery.

Newcastle United head coach, Steve Bruce, said: “Unfortunately, Karl Darlow has tested positive for Covid-19 and it has affected the goalkeepers, with Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman coming into relatively close contact and needing to self-isolate.

“Thankfully, everyone else has been tested again and all those test results were negative.

“Because there has been a positive case, a first team group will travel to York on Sunday and the match at Harrogate will now be made up of under 23s players.

“I have spoken to Simon Weaver, who was very understanding, and I would like to apologise to any Harrogate supporters who have bought tickets thinking first team players were coming.

“Ultimately, we have to follow the advice from medical professionals and take proactive steps to protect players and we simply can’t mix up the dressing rooms, which was our initial plan.”

For the latest coronavirus guidance, please visit gov.uk/covid19.

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