Steve Bruce has confirmed that FIVE defenders could be set to miss tomorrow’s clash with Southampton at St James’ Park.
The NUFC boss reveals that Jamal Lewis is a major doubt with a hamstring injury, while Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett have also been ruled out. That said, it does sound like Allan Saint-Maximin will be ready to start this one.
Ciaran Clark is touch and go, with Bruce highlighting that his wife has gone into labour – meaning he’ll only be able to make the game is she gives birth over the coming hours.
Elsewhere, the gaffer has also confirmed that Christian Atsu will return to our 25-man squad, taking DeAndre Yedlin’s place following his move to Turkey.
Bruce has also hinted that Joe Willock will make his debut tomorrow following his deadline day arrival from Arsenal. suggesting he’s already caught the eye in training this week.
Bruce on his injury crisis at the back:
“Jamal Lewis, Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernández won’t make it.
“Ciaran Clark’s partner has gone into labour but we’re hoping he’ll still make it.
“We hope she (Clark’s wife) produces a healthy baby this morning or this afternoon so he can get himself ready for the game.”
“Paul Dummett is still struggling so we’re a bit depleted defensively.”
“The team picked itself against Crystal Palace because Everton was easily our best performance of the season.
“Allan is fit, we are pleased with him and he’s ready to start so let’s hope he can have the impact we all know he can have.”
Bruce on Joe Willock:
“He’ll be involved (against Southampton).
“He’s trained with us two or three days. He’s a little bit different to what we’ve got.
“He wants to get forward and get a goal.’
“He’s a little different. We were a little bit samey if that’s the right word.
“We’re delighted to get him. He will bring a freshness to us on the field.
“He wants to get forward and score a goal – that’s in his locker.
“He’s got the ability to get up and down the pitch. He’s young, enthusiastic and ready to go.”
“Of course, it’ll take a little bit of time to settle but we’re very pleased with that we’ve seen.”
Bruce on Christian Atsu’s return to the 25-man squad:
“Atsu will slip back into the squad.
Christian and Henri Saivet need, for their careers, to see if they can get fixed up.
They haven’t been able to, and Christian will come back into the squad.”
So, Fabian Schar could be our only available centre-back tomorrow.
And we thought Southampton were the team facing an injury crisis in defence heading into this one!