Sean Longstaff has also been ruled out, with him still suspended after seeing red in last month’s 1-1 draw with Wolves.
Here’s what Bruce had to say about Ritchie and Schar speaking during his pre-match presser this morning:
“Matt and Fabian haven’t made it. Unfortunately they’ve still got a bit to do.
“We don’t think it’s that bad with Fab but Matt’s a little bit of a concern because he was going along so well and unfortunately he’s had a reaction to training.”
Bruce then provided an update on Florian Lejeune, saying he’s ‘fine’, but may need more minutes for the U-23’s before he can return to first-team action:
“It’s a bit too early for this weekend but he’s come through the training schedule that he’s been on.
“He’s fine but we just need to get some more minutes into him if we possibly can. He’s back training & played 70 minutes the other night. He’s chomping at the bit.”
It’s a real shame to hear Ritchie has suffered a ‘reaction’ in training after over two months out. We’ve not missed him as much as we feared thanks to Jetro Willems’ brilliant form at left wing-back, however his energy, intensity and leadership on and off the pitch is invaluable at times.
As for Schar and Lejeune, the classy duo are arguably our two best centre-backs and player we miss in home games especially, but reliable duo Clark and Fernandez deserve their chance and will get it again on Saturday.