Steve Bruce has been speaking virtually to the press this morning ahead of Sunday’s clash with Sheffield United and the return of football to St James’ Park.
The gaffer has confirmed all three January loan signings have no signed extensions to stay for the remainder of the season, with Nabil Bentaleb now joining Danny Rose and Valentino Lazaro in prolonging his stay from Schalke.
Bruce also reveals that soon-to-be out of contract trio Andy Carroll, Javier Manquillo and Matty Longstaff have also “verbally agreed” to sign until the rest of the season, with their current deals set to expire on June 30th without an extension.
On the injury front, it’s not quite quite so good news, however.
There doesn’t appear to be any major concerns, but Bruce has revealed that both Longstaff’s are out, with Matt Ritchie touch and go and Dwight Gayle and Florian Lejeune also unlikely to feature, with the former missing both training games and the latter picking up an injury in our 2-0 win over Hull last weekend.
Paul Dummett will also be missing, being out of Steve Bruce’s 25-man squad and ineligible as a result, while Ciaran Clark has failed to feature in all our training games, so doesn’t appear ready to return from a serious ankle injury just yet – despite being back in training.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say:
“Unfortunately, Lejeune picked up an injury in the game last week.”
“The Longstaffs are very close, and we hope they can join in training in the next couple of days.
“Ritchie had a niggle but we hope he’s going to be OK.
So, it seems both Longstaff’s have been ruled out, with Clark and Lejeune also appearing to be sidelined along with Dummett, while the likes of Ritchie and Gayle could be set for late fitness tests.
With this in mind, could Sunday’s line up look something like this..
(4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose – Hayden, Shelvey – Lazaro, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton?
Time will tell, but it’ll be nice to see football back at St James’ Park – even if it’ll be incredibly bizarre to see us playing with no fans at St James’ Park!