Newcastle United players new Covid cases and Southampton decision imminent – Report
Against Manchester United on Monday, there were 19 Newcastle United players named in the matchday squad.
However, the eight Newcastle United players named on the bench included two goalkeepers and two teenagers who are yet to start a Premier League match.
After the 1-1 draw, Eddie Howe said that in the lead up to the game there had been doubts as to whether the game would go ahead, with the minimum needed being 13 senior outfield players plus at least one goalkeeper.
With Everton only three days later, by the Tuesday night a request by Newcastle United to the Premier League had been approved for Thursday’s game at Goodison to be postponed.
Extra injuries and potentially more Covid cases as well, tipping NUFC over the edge in not being able to play the match. The outrage of Everton fans, amongst others, to the postponement was laughable, considering Newcastle United were one of less than a handful of Premier League clubs to have not already had a game called off.
Even before the confirmation that Everton v Newcastle had been postponed, Ralph Hasenhuttl was already insisting that the Southampton game against NUFC had to go ahead…
On Thursday, journalists received confirmation that Eddie Howe’s pre-Southampton press conference was scheduled to be held at 1.30pm on Friday afternoon. However, anybody taking this as a sure sign that the match would go ahead, were instantly put right. With it pointed out that the pre-Everton press conference for the NUFC Head Coach had been scheduled / confirmed, before then that game was requested to be called off.
Ahead of Eddie Howe’s scheduled press conference, we have had another update via the media.
Craig Hope of The Mail says that his information is that there have been more positive Covid cases amongst the Newcastle United players this week, which have put the Southampton match under severe doubt.
The man from The Mail saying that further test results will be known today (Friday).
This means every chance a request will be going in to the Premier League for this Southampton game to be postponed, with it falling to Eddie Howe to do a head count today when he has all the relevant updated information on both injuries and impact of Covid amongst the Newcastle United players.
Javier Manquillo misses Southampton due to a one game ban after picking up five bookings.
Paul Dummett, Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis continue to be missing for the foreseeable.
Isaac Hayden has had a knee operation this week which is expected to keep him out for at least two months.
Callum Wilson will also be missing after his injury picked up against Man Utd, though more favourable new reports claim he could be back early February, rather than out for months.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser were also forced off with injuries / knocks on Monday, so it remains to be seen if they are ok for Southampton. Fabian Schar also limping towards the end of that game, so another unknown.
We saw unexpectedly Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Joe Willock and Karl Darlow absent on Monday night and seemingly some or all of these players impacted by the virus.
Of the 22 outfield senior players, I make it that Manquillo, Hayden, Fernandez, Lewis, Dummett, Wilson, Clark, Ritchie and Willock appear all but certain to be already ruled out. With those nine missing it already puts NUFC on the knife edge of having only the bare minimum 13 outfield players for Southampton.
So if any of ASM, Schar or Fraser are also ruled out, it looks to tip Newcastle United over the edge, never mind this report of extra Covid cases arising since Man Utd.
I suppose there is a small possibility that some of those who missed Man Utd due to Covid could be available again, depending on how the dates work out. However, they will still have missed group training for at least some of this week, if not all.
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