A boost of sorts has arrived ahead of tomorrow’s game with Bournemouth, with Eddie Howe confirming that first-team duo Junior Stanislas and Benik Afobe will BOTH miss the game at St James’ Park this weekend.
The pair have started for the Cherries in their last few league games but have been ruled out with injuries by the Bournemouth boss today.
On another potentially positive note, last season’s top scorer Joshua King also sounds like he could miss out once again for the visitors, with Howe stating that they will have to make a ‘late decision’ on his availability tomorrow:
“Both Benik Afobe and Junior Stanislas will miss this weekend.
“We haven’t had official confirmation on Junior’s injury, so we’ll get a second opinion. At this stage it is unknown but we believe it’s not as serious as we first thought.
“Benik should be back after international break and we have no other new concerns.
“Joshua King is a player we’ll have to make a late decision on.
“I think Callum Wilson is getting there. He’s going to need a lot of football to get back to his best but he looks sharp.”
Interesting to see Callum Wilson stepping up his recovery from some pretty awful knee injuries over the years. He could feature tomorrow, however there seems to be a few doubts as to whether he is ready to come in from the start.
With this in mind, this could mean 35-year old forward Jermaine Defoe starts. He’s a brilliant finisher and has had a knack of scoring against us for Sunderland recently, but he’s not impressed as some hoped he would on his return to the south-coast, scoring 2 goals in 12 appearances this season.
Stanislas was instrumental in their last away win at Stoke and King their best player last season, so their absence would be a plus point, helping even things up a little given we look set to be without midfield maestro Mikel Merino.
Finally, here’s Howe’s thoughts on NUFC ahead of tomorrow’s game:
— Newcastle Fans TV (@NewcastleFansTV) November 3, 2017