NUFC star set for late fitness test but ‘injured’ duo spotted back ahead of West Ham clash

Despite being rated as injury doubts in Bruce’s pre-match press conference on Friday, it’s emerged that both Jamaal Lascelles and Joelinton have been back full training at Benton over the weekend.

The skipper was said to be nursing an ankle knock and Joelinton a calf complaint following the 4-1 win at Bournemouth.

However, pictures from the club’s official website suggest the duo are in fact fit and ready to feature today (see them here).

That said, Steve Bruce has confirmed over the weekend that Allan Saint-Maximin’s fitness will be assessed ahead of today’s clash with West Ham.

The Frenchman has started all four of our games since football returned and was tipped to be rested in midweek after claims he’d been “extremely tired” – only for him to be named in Bruce’s XI and bag three assists during his devastating hour on the field at Bournemouth!

His influence his there for all to see, with him being the heartbeat of our team and arguably one of the most influential players in the league based on his importance to a team, however it remains to be seen if Bruce will allow him to start 5 games in 15 days!

“We rely on sports science, but sometimes your eye tells you whether they’re fit or not.

“I don’t expect him to be in great nick today, but hopefully by tomorrow’s he’s recovered.

“Hopefully there’s a bit of freshness there.”

The fact we’ve won just ONCE all season without him in the starting line-up will no doubt tempt Bruce to throw him in again, yet he may also feel like this is the ideal time to protect him (IF he’s fatigued) when the talented Lazaro is worthy of a start (and needing to be looked at if we’re to spend £20m on him this summer) and Ritchie is fit again after a recent knock.

In fairness, ASM didn’t look like a man in need of a rest on Wednesday and is so good to watch you’d be disappointed to see him miss out!

We shall see, but at least we have a few good options in reserve should Bruce feel the need to protect him.

Let’s hope Lascelles and Joelinton do make it, with the skipper’s involvement seeming all the more key given potential replacement Fabian Schar was awful in his last start in that FA Cup quarter final vs Man City.

Elsewhere, new boy Mark Gillespie was also spotted taking part in his first training session as a Newcastle players over the weekend.

He won’t be able to feature over the remainder of the season, but it’s good to see him back 12 years on from his release as a 16-year-old Academy graduate!

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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