Steve Bruce has confirmed that SIX senior players will miss Saturday’s trip to Anfield.
Matt Ritchie (ankle), Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Andy Carroll (ankle), Dwight Gayle (calf), DeAndre Yedlin (groin) and Florian Lejeune (ACL recovery) are the six that will miss out at Liverpool, but there is some good news.
Bruce has revealed that Ritchie is making ‘remarkable progress’ after suffering ankle ligament damage last month, suggesting he could even be back in four weeks – which is quite something considering he was expected to be out until November.
It’s also been confirmed that Carroll and Saint-Maximin are back on the grass and ‘progressing well’, with the former being involved in a training session for the first time yesterday – although it was ‘non contact’. Bruce’s comments on Gayle are far less encouraging however, with him stating once again that his calf injury ‘isn’t getting any better’.
As for Yedlin and Lejeune, it sounds like both are edging closer to returns, although you would think the American will be back before the Frenchman.
Finally, the majority of Dubravka, Schar, Krafth and Almiron are all due to return from international duty today, however the latter won’t be back until ‘Thursday or Friday’ and will be assessed after playing 90 minutes (and scoring!) on the other side of the world just last night.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say about all the above:
Bruce on Ritchie:
“Matt Ritchie being Matt Ritchie is surprising us all. When I looked over today, he was running. He’s back on the training ground running in straight lines,”
“I think that’s better news. With Matt, the good thing is it’s an impact injury. If there’s anything that an injury picks up on is impact. We know what it is.
“If it’s muscles, it’s always a bit of a problem and ligaments and things like that but he’s out on the grass and the progress he’s made in two weeks is quite remarkable. I think it could be good news for all of us.
“He doesn’t look as if he’ll be eight weeks I wouldn’t think. The way he is at the minute – we don’t put timescales on these things – but closer to four or five weeks might be better.”
Bruce on Gayle, Carroll and Saint-Maximin:
“The major ones we’re talking about – Dwight, Andy Carroll and Saint-Maximin – they’re a big three to get fit,”
“I can’t see any of them being available for this weekend against Liverpool but two of them are progressing.
“Andy, we’ll have to still be patient. However, for the first time today, he joined in with the group to a degree. He only took part in half of the session, non contact, but it’s good to see him out kicking a ball again. I always knew that it would be towards the end of this month and halfway through the next month really.
“Dwight’s a big disappointment for me because I have now been here for seven, eight weeks but this injury has not got any better – which is a big concern to all of us.”
Bruce on Lejeune, Yedlin and the players returning from international duty:
“You get injuries, you pick up injuries.
“I haven’t really seen the internationals. I think it was vitally important Fabian Schar, for example, had a couple of days off. He’s had two games and probably trained in between them games so we’ll see him tomorrow [Wednesday] and that goes for the rest of the internationals. They’re back in tomorrow.
“Almiron, obviously, is the most difficult one because he’s at the other end of the earth so we hope we can get him back on Thursday or Friday. Let’s see what condition he’s in.”
Hopefully Almiron returns in good shape and is ready to play at Anfield this weekend, with his first goal for Paraguay last night likely to have given him the confidence boost he desperately needed.