Newcastle United have released some pretty telling photos of the squad in training at the club’s Benton base today.
The good news is that Federico Fernandez is back with the group after recovering from Covid, meaning he will be in contention to return against Leeds on Wednesday.
On the flip side, there’s no sign of Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Javier Manquillo, Ryan Fraser or Mark Gillespie in any of the 34 pictures.
Paul Dummett and Martin Dubravka are also absent, although both have been nursing long-term injuries and seem unlikely to return until the new year.
While some of the above will be missing with knocks – the likes of ASM and Fraser picked up muscle problems prior to our tip to Palace – it seems a few of these may still be in self-isolation or not ready to return.
For example, it emerged from Switzerland yesterday that Fabian Schar had been struck down by the virus, which perhaps explains his prolonged absence today.
It’s also worth noting that Jamaal Lascelles’ partner admitted on Instagram this morning that she’d been forced to self-isolate recently – making me wonder whether the skipper is one of several to have had Covid.
So, it seems Fernandez will return at Elland Road on Wednesday, which is just as well given the lack of fit centre-backs on Saturday, but the Leeds trip looks likely to come too soon for those missing from today’s session.
See the training photos in full here.