Newcastle were defeated in Sunday’s first pre-season friendly at York City. A late header from Micheal Duckworth looped over the outstretched arms of 6’7″ Dan Langley to give the hosts a 1-0 win.
The lads weren’t a well-oiled machine today as they didn’t really push into higher gears. Continuing to build fitness levels after a busy training camp was the main goal.
As Isaac Hayden tweeted after the match, the focus is to be ready for West Ham on August 15th.
Huge work load week completed. Nice to get minutes in the bank after a long 4 months since last game. will take a little bit of time, but the focus has to be being 100 percent ready for 4 weeks time. #NUFC pic.twitter.com/5sZbTCME8Y
— Isaac Hayden (@IsaacHayden65) July 18, 2021
Steve Bruce relayed a similar message in his post-match comments. He was disappointed with the result but was happy with the workout. This is what Bruce said about the Sunday’s friendly as published in The Northern Echo:
“Listen, we’re disappointed with the result, of course, but it’s not all about the result.
“We didn’t deserve to lose, but it just shows you if you don’t play with the intensity and the speed and the pace you normally do, then you get frustrating afternoons like we’ve just had. It’s all about fitness levels.
“We’ve had a really big week in terms of the levels of what they got up to, and the kilometers they’ve done, so it’s the first of getting ready for the challenge of four weeks away.
“It was a decent workout, apart from the result.”
Unfortunately, Newcastle did not come away from this match unscathed. Joelinton, who had played well up to that point, was forced off early in the first half with a thigh problem.
He initially tried to play on but Bruce pulled him for Dwight Gayle soon after receiving treatment. Though it doesn’t appear to be a serious injury as Joelinton wanted to carry on. Bruce didn’t seem overly concerned when asked about the injury:
“Well, he wanted to carry on which tells me that it’s not that serious but it’s obviously a concern.
“We’ll not know until we scan him and give the results out in the next couple of days.”
Newcastle currently have two players out injured along with three fit first-team goalkeepers self-isolating due to Karl Darlow’s positive Covid test. Martin Dubravka has had a procedure done on his foot.
He put out a post on his Instagram account showing him in the hospital giving a thumbs up. He simply added ‘Hope to be back soon!’ Martin is expected to be out until the end of August.
The other injured Magpie is Elliot Anderson, who is on rest duty with a hip problem. It’s been a chronic issue for the 18-year-old over the past few months so hopefully, a month of rest will do the trick.
Bruce also announced that Florian Lejeune is headed back to Alaves on a permanent transfer. The Frenchman didn’t travel to York this afternoon. Local lad Kell Watts got a full run-out as he played on the left and then the middle of the back three.
The 21-year-old, who has spent the previous two seasons on various loan spells, was one of the bright spots on the afternoon. When asked about the young defender, Bruce confirmed that he plans on taking a long look at him in pre-season:
“I think it’s important we have a look at him and see what he’s got, he’s had a successful loan spell at Plymouth last season.”
“I thought he did OK today, it was an ideal opportunity to have a good look at him we will do over pre-season.”
In addition to Watts getting a look, circumstances dictated that Dan Langley was in goal for the entire match. Max Thompson was on the bench in what must have been a special moment for the 16-year-old.
Langley played very well making a few good stops. He couldn’t do anything about the goal as it was a superb header from Duckworth. Bruce was pleased with the 20-year-old’s efforts on the day:
“Langley did well the young lad, he made a save in the first half and didn’t have much to do apart from that but it was a great header for the goal.
“He can be very pleased with his debut.”