With yet another Newcastle United game at serious risk of being postponed, the harsh reality of how this mass Covid outbreak could impact our season is starting to hit home.
There’s never a good time for half you team to be struck down with a nasty virus, but the timing of this mass outbreak at NUFC couldn’t be much worse.
We had SEVEN games planned this month. As per The Telegraph’s latest report (read more on that here), Saturday’s visit of West Brom now looks to have every chance of also being postponed after cases moved ‘well into double figures’ following recent testing.
This would leave us two games behind the rest of the league, yet we are due to play Leeds United a matters of days later next Wednesday (16th), meaning that could soon become three if we’re not careful.
Even if we were ok to play at Elland Road next Wednesday, the team would’ve barely trained for 14 days heading into it and all momentum from that 0-2 win at Crystal Palace would be lost.
Not only that, issues with energy levels have often been reported in those who’ve just recovered from contracting the virus, so the last thing we need is the three games in SIX days – and that’s exactly what’s coming, with Leeds (16th), Fulham (19th) and Brentford (22nd) part of our upcoming schedule.
With us due to play all three of the newly promoted sides before our Carabao Cup quarter final in two weeks time, this was arguably the most season-defining part of 2020/21 for Steve Bruce – yet we now come into such a crucial period in a total state of disarray.
We should’ve been facing a West Brom side this Saturday who look there for the taking after that 1-5 defeat to Crystal Palace yesterday – not to mention star man Matheus Pereira saw red and would be suspended for the game at St James’ – but it’s actually us who will be patched up and anything but prepared for the very beatable Baggies should the game go ahead.
After several weeks without a proper training regime and half the squad bed-bound, a busy festive period will hit us harder than ever, whether our next game back is West Brom this weekend or Leeds a week on Wednesday.
Then there’s the postponed games that we’ll have to fit in. Some have suggested they’ll be shoehorned into our January schedule, yet we are already due to play SIX games in all competitions that month, meaning we look set to be stretched to our limit one way or another over the coming months.