Steve Bruce may have provided positive injury updates on Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune this morning, but his comments on Matt Ritchie’s ankle injury are pretty concerning.
Fortunately, we’ve been in the capable hands of Jetro Willems – who’s done brilliantly since Ritchie limped off against Leicester back in August – but Steve Bruce’s comments in recent weeks suggest the ex-Bournemouth star’s injury is getting worse, not better.
Initially, it was revealed in late August that he’d miss ‘two months’, however we’re now almost three months on and he’s not only suffered a ‘setback’ in training last week, but has now sent to see a specialist according to Bruce.
Here’s what the NUFC boss had to say about the wing-back’s recovery today:
“Ritchie is still not right.
“It’s still ongoing. He went to see his specialist again yesterday.
“It’s a difficult one because he was so close a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately had a setback.
“It’s very disappointing and frustrating for him. ”
As stated earlier, Willems is doing a superb job at left wing-back, meaning Ritchie would be unlikely to walk back into the side even if he was fit, however there can be no denying that he’s a big character, key communicator and leader both on and off the pitch – and we need those given captain Jamaal Lascelles won’t play again this year.
Not only that, we’re only an injury away from Jetro Willems from being left without a natural wing-back down that side.
Let’s hope the specialist can get to the root of his niggling ankle ligament issue so he’s back fit for the busy festive period!