Speaking in his pre-match press conference this morning, Steve Bruce admitted that he was hoping Aston Villa star Jack Grealish wouldn’t be fit enough to make his return tomorrow night.
The influential playmaker had been pencilled in for a return to training and declared himself ready to feature earlier this week, however Dean Smith has just confirmed that Friday’s game will come too soon for him.
This will be music to the ears of Steve Bruce, with Aston Villa looking toothless in attack during the four games Grealish has missed – winning only once, losing 1-0 at Sheffield United and scoring just two goals in the process.
That said, they’re still a capable side without him, meaning we’ll have to be MUCH better than we were at West Brom to get the win.
Here’s what Bruce had to say on Grealish, along with Dean Smith’s confirmation that he’ll miss tomorrow’s game on Tyneside:
“Jack (Grealish) is their best player &, without him, they’d miss him.
“I hope he needs another week, but I don’t mean that personally.”
“We play first (before Fulham face Man City and Brighton go to Southampton) so it’ll be great if we can get a result, we know we’re capable of it.
“Then we’ll see what other teams can do.”
Dean Smith injury update:
“Jack Grealish is a lot better, but you won’t see him at Newcastle unfortunately.
“It hasn’t helped that he’s been ill this week, which has kept him off for a couple of days.”
We’re running out of ‘winnable’ fixtures, but this feels like one based on how they’ve struggled in recent weeks without their star man…
After a pitiful attempt to take all three points at West Brom, let’s hope we can make up for it here with a much needed win.
It won’t be easy and I’m still not confident, but this gives us a chance we must grab with both hands.