There was some news yesterday that Florian Lejeune was in with a chance to make the squad for Chelsea on Saturday.
While we would prefer the club to wait a little longer before involving the 28-year-old, it highlights just how the team has recovered from their early-season injury woes.
At one point this season, Newcastle had up to eight players out through injury. Now only Matt Ritchie is not involved in first-team training.
Florian Lejeune is now the only player recovering from injury who has yet to get into the match-day squad. DeAndre Yedlin is back in the team, and Dwight Gayle was named on the substitute’s bench against Manchester United.
Alan Shearer reckons that if Newcastle can avoid another run of injuries, they should have enough in the squad to survive this season.
Alan made some comments about Newcastle’s prospects going forward after their trying start to the season. This is what Alan had to say as published in the Daily Mail:
“They’ve had a hammering, and rightly so, but you always get a right to reply as a footballer and football manager.
“I was delighted for Steve that they beat Man U. I was delighted for the team because when you put in a performance like they did (against Leicester), you know you’re going to get battered.
“Steve’s had to put up with a lot of crap over the last couple of weeks.
“There’s something in there to work with. If you can keep the majority of the squad fit, then I think nthey’ll do all right.
“If you get a result like that against Man United, it certainly gives you something to go and build on.
“It’s been a mixture. I mean, there have been some poor performances. Norwich away and Leicester away were terrible. Then you look at Tottenham and Man United.
“If you look at investment in January, and hopefully that’ll come as well.”
Alan seems to have come around a little bit since the early in the season when he feared a relegation battle. However, it is a big question mark if Newcastle can keep these players fit over the long-haul.
For whatever reason, this season has seen a rash of injuries that did not occur last year.
The club is also expected to allow Bruce to invest in the squad this January. Though how much will likely depend on the injury situation at that time as well as league position.
We are a lot more confident of survival after the win against Manchester United. However, this season has been one of peaks and valleys, as Alan rightly points out.
The next month should also give us a little more insight into what this squad is capable of. We face some in-form teams over the next three weeks in Chelsea, Wolves, and West Ham.
How Newcastle perform in these three matches will be a good indicator of how this season could pan out.