It’s an overall positive update on injuries from Steve Bruce during this morning’s press conference. This is what the head coach had to say about his injured players:
“They’re all OK. We all knew Jamal Lewis was returning earlier – that was pre-agreed & he’s fine as well. We thought Martin Dubravka might have been a bit more advanced but we never put a timescale on somebody who has had an operation.
“Matty has trained the last ten days and not had a reaction. The U23s play Fulham on Monday so he’ll play in that alongside Ciaran and Paul. It’s an ideal time to let them have 90 minutes.”
We already heard the disappointing news that Martin Dubravka’s return has been delayed due to his heel not responding as quickly as hoped.
Bruce confirmed that bit of news but added that there was no official timescale for the 31-year-old. But it’s excellent news on Jamal Lewis, who is fine after leaving the Northern Ireland squad for a scan on his Achilles.
Bruce says that was a pre-arranged agreement and Lewis should be ready for Manchester United tomorrow. The 22-year-old did start both of Northern Ireland’s first two internationals so it’s good that Newcastle were able to reach an understanding with them.
That leads us into the returning trio of Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, and Matty Longstaff. There were reports that the three would be available for Manchester United. However, that’s not the case. They are on schedule but will take part in a U23s match against Fulham on Monday.
That’s a wise move as Ciaran Clark is the only one of the three that has played this season but he only lasted a game and a half when he returned. So getting them all involved with the U23s next week may be best.
They also are likely not needed just yet as we are down to only three long-term injuries in Martin Dubravka, Dwight Gayle, and Matt Ritchie. We didn’t hear anything on Jamaal Lascelles but he trained normally yesterday so we expect he is ok.
Bruce will be able to field a very strong side against the Red Devils. He’s getting to the stage where he’s got some decisions to make with his team selection and is not pressed to play someone who may not be quite ready.