According to the latest fitness update from the club’s official website, Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto have ‘looked sharp’ following their return to training this week – but there’s still no sign of Andy Carroll.
Elsewhere, the club also confirm that Miguel Almiron is fine after limping off last week, while Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro are ‘pushing for full debuts’ after a week’s worth of training with their new teammates.
Two players who have returned are Joelinton and Yoshinori Muto – proving the rib injury he sustained in our FA Cup win over Oxford wasn’t as bad as Steve Bruce first feared.
It’s great to see Joelinton is fine after his confidence boosting goal and assist last time out, while Muto gives us another option up top, but Carroll’s continued absence is a growing concern.
He seems to be having ‘minor’ niggles, not issues with the ankle he had reconstructive surgery on last year, however the fact he’s barely featured since Boxing Day suggests he’s struggling to get fully fit.
As for Gayle and Shelvey, the duo were never likely to be rushed back from recent hamstring injuries, although the former was also tipped to return this weekend by Bruce, while the latter was said to be ‘touch and go’ for Sunday.
We’ll have to wait and see what Bruce says in his pre-match presser on Friday, but it looks like Carroll, Gayle, Shelvey and Manquillo could be missing for another game yet if we don’t see them training in the next 48 hours.