Speaking to the press ahead of our Boxing Day trip to Manchester City, Steve Bruce has offered an update on the fitness front.
When asked if anyone may need a rest over the hectic festive period, he hinted that Callum Wilson and Ciaran Clark won’t be able to play every game after playing so much so soon after recent injuries.
He’s also seems hopeful that Federico Fernandez will be back soon – perhaps on Boxing Day – after being forced off with “fatigue” against Fulham last weekend, but confirms Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin won’t be fit to play for at least another week or two after taking time to recover from Covid-19.
The good news, however, is that Martin Dubravka is not only back in training but expected to return to the first-team fold in the “next week or so”.
Bruce also states that Paul Dummett is OK after missing out entirely at Brentford, saying he just “wasn’t right” physically to be involved after playing just his second game of 2020 against Fulham a few days prior.
Plenty of updates from the NUFC boss, but still absolutely nothing on Fabian Schar and Javier Manquillo – two players who’ve been nowhere to be seen for a month now. Perhaps they’ve had Covid and prefer to keep that disclosed, but it’s a surprise nothing has been said now we’ve had confirmation that the likes of ASM, Lascelles, Krafth, Hayden and Fernandez have all had the virus.
Here’s what Bruce had to say on all of the above:
Bruce on Wilson
“That’s a worry and a concern for us, of course.
“We know how crucial he is to us.
“It’s four games in 10 games and to keep going and going, is very difficult.
“There will come a point where we have to give him a break.”
Bruce on Clark
“I can’t speak highly enough of him (Clark) and what he’s done.
“He has played four games in 10 days.
“Since coming back after a year out.
“Ciaran was arguably our best player the other night, he has done fantastically well.”
Bruce on Fernandez’s fatigue
“We’ll see how he [Federico Fernandez] is.
“I sincerely hope so [Fernandez can play at Man City], but he was very fatigued after real soreness of his muscles and was in no fit state to play [at Brentford].
“I don’t think I’ve worked with a better pro than Fede, so for him to have the effects just goes to show that it affects different people in different ways.
“But yes, I hope I have at least him back because at centre bank we’ve been a little bit short.”
Bruce with the latest on ASM and Lascelles
“There’s been a lot written and I’ll try and put the record straight.
“They’re not ready to return until the doctors tell us.
“Everybody’s different with the symptoms, but we expect them to be back; how long, I really can’t put a timeframe on.
“(It will) probably be Jamaal before Allan, but we hope that we can see an improvement in both of them and they can join the squad in the next week, two weeks, maybe.
“It’s been well documented how difficult it’s been over the last week, ten days. We’re obviously desperately short in central defensive areas, where it’s his most badly.
“We’ll look to freshen it up. I think it’s vitally important that you do that because obviously we’ve got some big games coming up.”
Bruce on Dubravka’s return
“He’s not far away from illness and injury.
“We hope he will be able to join in for the next week or so.
“It will be good to see Martin back.”
Bruce on Dummett’s absence at Brentford
“He had recovered after one game in one year.
“Physically, he wasn’t right.”