Steve Bruce shared a pretty positive update on the injury front today, suggesting that both Andy Carroll and Saint-Maximin will be in the squad for tomorrow’s visit of Brighton.
A bench role awaits for both and Fabian Schar has been declared fit despite limping off at Liverpool, however there’ll be no Sean Longstaff, who’s expected to return next week.
The game will also come too soon for Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Florian Lejeune, while DeAndre Yedlin is unlikely to feature after only just returning to first-team training.
With all the above in mind, here’s the side the looks likely to start against Brighton tomorrow afternoon:
(3-4-2-1): Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Dummett – Krafth, Shelvey, Hayden, Willems – Almiron, Atsu – Joelinton.
Carroll and Saint-Maximin may be back, but both will be limited to substitute appearances at best, meaning a front three of Atsu, Joelinton and Almiron looks nailed on.
In midfield, Hayden is one of the first names on the team sheet these days and, with Sean Longstaff ruled out, Jonjo Shelvey looks set to start once again in what will be a huge chance for him to impress at St James’ Park.
At the back, Willems will continue at left wing-back in Ritchie’s absence, but Bruce may be tempted to start Manquillo down the other side following Krafth’s poor display at Anfield. That said, it seems the Swede is his first choice option so I would not be surprised if he stuck with him.
At centre-back, the reliable trio of Dummett, Lascelles and Schar will almost certainly start once again – although it’ll be interesting to see what Bruce does when Lejeune returns!
How do you see us lining up when the team sheets are announced come 4.30pm tomorrow?