The injuries are starting to mount for Steve Bruce’s black and blue army, but there were some positives pictures that emerged from the training ground yesterday.
Despite Bruce confirming that they had knocks and may be touch and go for the Watford game, both Miguel Almiron and Jetro Willems trained yesterday, suggesting they could be fine for today.
Ritchie may be out for 2 months, Saint-Maximin is set for ‘3-5 weeks’ on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and it seems like Krafth is unlikely to make this one after failing to train since he limped off vs Leicester, but Almiron and Willems appeared to take part in the full session – with the latter also declaring on social media that he was ‘ready’ for the game.
With all of the above and current form in mind, here’s the side I expect to be revealed when the teams are announced come 2pm today:
Predicted NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Dummett – Manquillo, Hayden, Longstaff, Willems – Almiron, Atsu – Joelinton.
2 changes from Spurs (Saint-Maximin & Ritchie OUT – Atsu & Willems IN)
Up top, Joelinton has been deemed fit despite missing Wednesday’s game with a slight groin issue, while Atsu looks set to continue down the left-side of our attack in Saint-Maximin’s absence.
Almiron has an ankle knock, but Bruce seemed optimistic about his chances of starting this one – and his involvement in training yesterday only boosts that cause.
At wing-back, with Ritchie out and Krafth a major doubt, it seems like Manquillo will come in down our right-hand side, with Willems set to replace Ritchie – providing he did actually come through training totally unscathed yesterday.
In midfield, I can’t see the Hayden-Longstaff partnership being disrupted, while centre-back trio Dummett, Lascelles and Schar look set to start once again after their heroic display at Spurs – even if Federico Fernandez was very impressive against Leicester in midweek.