Steve Bruce has given his latest injury and fitness update ahead of Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, the NUFC Head Coach has been talking about player availability as Newcastle return to Premier League action.
Bruce saying ‘four games in 11 days, I’m going to use the squad’, a shame it is a week too late…
After beating Sheffield United, Newcastle were 11 points clear of relegation and the bookies made them a massive 300/1 to go down.
Yet despite having the FA Cup quarter final to follow on the Sunday, Steve Bruce insisted on playing the exact same 11 players against Villa who had also faced Sheff Utd.
The net result was on Sunday both Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey were unable to play any part against Man City, Hayden wasn’t 100%, whilst ASM and Almiron both looked fatigued.
It was quite bizarre that despite Bentaleb being suspended for the FA Cup match, Steve Bruce only gave him the final four minutes against Villa and that was only because Hayden had to come off injured.
Steve Bruce has now indicated that changes are belatedly going to be made to the Premier League side and whilst he only mentions ASM I feel we could see any number of changes.
No mention of them but you assume Clark and Lejeune are still ruled out, whilst Bruce says Ritchie is still a big doubt.
I think the likes of Manquillo, Rose, Hayden, Almiron, ASM and either Lascelles or Fernandez could all be in line for a rest against Bournemouth, to both protect against injury and because their performance could / would be inhibited.
The big problem then of course comes with the drop in quality of who replaces them.
Steve Bruce talking about team selection for Bournemouth:
“I think it’s only right that I freshen us up.
“I don’t want to go down to Bournemouth with them not having a game for a week and us playing four games in 11 days so I will be making some changes.
“Hopefully that pays off.
“The lockdown has done him [ASM] good with those niggling hamstrings he had which was always a concern when you rely on your pace like he does.
“He was extremely tired yesterday.
“Four games in 11 days, I’m going to use the squad so we’ll see how he is this afternoon.
“Matt Ritchie is touch and go.
“He’s desperate to play but he was nowhere near it on Friday so we’ll see how he is.
“You can’t really take a risk with soft tissue injuries because if he’s not right he could risk being out for the rest of the season.”