Steve Bruce has been handed a boost of sorts ahead of Saturday’s game at St James’ Park, with Bournemouth star Jefferson Lerma ruled out through suspension.
The tough-tackling Colombian picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign in their 1-0 win over Man Utd last weekend (his 17th in 42 games!) and club captain Steve Cook has since admitted he’ll be a “big miss”.
Here’s what Cook’s had to say as the Cherries prepare to take on Newcastle without their £25m-man on Saturday:
“It’s a big miss.”
“Fortunately this year we’ve got such a good squad. We’ve got Dan Gosling back, we’ve got Lewis Cook, who is looking fantastic.
“Obviously losing Jeff to ultimately a silly booking is tough to take, but suspensions, injuries, they’re natural in this game.
“We’ve got great players waiting in the wings.”
He’s right, they’ve got decent players in reserve, with Lewis Cook a real talent and ex-Mag Dan Gosling waiting in the wings, but their defensive record has been much better with Lerma in the side.
They’ve conceded just once in the last three games the holding midfielder has started in, keeping back to back clean sheets coming into this one, so hopefully his absence will leave them looking a little more leaky at the back.
Callum Wilson and Joshua King are a handful for any Premier League defence in attack, but Lerma’s suspension could be music to the ears of Jonjo Shelvey – a player who could thrive if given space to create on Saturday.