Steve Bruce has been speaking to the media this morning for the first time in two weeks, giving a much needed update on the Covid outbreak that saw last week’s trip Aston Villa called off.
The NUFC boss confirms that we’ll go into tomorrow’s game with West Brom without a significant number of first-team players, stating that a “big chunk” of his squad are set to sit out Saturday’s clash with the Baggies.
That said, he insists that he’s got 11 fit to play and more available than he thought he’d have, stating that he was fully expecting this game to also be postponed at one point last week.
Here’s what he’s had to say, revealing that some have now tested positive but have been so ill they’re still too fatigued to train:
“I’m not going to go into numbers but we’re in a better position than we were.
“We’ve got 11 for tomorrow, but we’ve got a lot more available than I thought we’d have.
“If you’d asked me last Monday I wouldn’t think this game (v WBA) would be on. But everyone has been tested twice since Monday & proved negative.
“I’ve got enough to pick 11. But we will be without a big chunk of players”
“A couple of the injured players are back but, unfortunately, we’re going to be missing quite a few.”
“One or two have now tested negative but have had it bad and are still fatigued. I’ve also got two staff members who are really poorly.”
“We have two or three players that have come back into the squad who have had it and tested negative.
“I have to respect the players and the staff and respect their wishes.
“Sometimes you want it to remain confidential and have that privacy.
“I think it’s only right I do that.”
Bruce then paid tribute to the club’s medical staff, also revealing how training has had to be adapted since those who tested negative returned earlier this week:
“I have to say a big well done to the medical people at the club. It was incredible how it all developed. It’s been very, very difficult but thankfully we’re far better than where we were last Monday.”
“At the start of the week, we had small groups – we went back to where we were in the first lockdown with training four of them at a time.
“Since Wednesday, we’ve been able to get on the grass and train properly, and prepare ourselves as best we can.
“We hope we’ve curtailed it – it certainly looks that way.
“We still have some individuals self isolating.
“We’ve got enough to hopefully win us the match.“
So, we still don’t know who’s available tomorrow and who’s not, however we can only hope that those still suffering make a swift recovery.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see what sort of side Steve Bruce is able to field come 3pm on Saturday!