Newcastle snuck in a surprise pre-season friendly at Turf Moor on Tuesday. Burnley won the match 1-0 as Newcastle were missing quite a few players through illness and injury. It was a decent run out nonetheless as a number of youngsters got some more time on the pitch.
Jonjo Shelvey made his pre-season debut after missing all four of the previous friendlies. The 29-year-old injured his calf during the close season and is in a fight to be ready for the opener at West Ham next Sunday.
Steve Bruce spoke to NUFC TV after the friendly and gave the following response when asked about Shelvey’s run out:
“It’ll be decent for Jonjo. He’s had a real tough time with getting injured before we even started.
“It was cruel for him so he’s got to try and make it up somewhere. He’s on the road to recovery.”
Newcastle are still short in the midfield even with Shelvey’s return. The prevailing hope is that Joe Willock returns this season in some capacity. Newcastle are just not the same team without a player of his ability in the midfield.
Bruce did provide a positive update on three of our star players. Miguel Almiron is back from holiday this week. Both Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin should be ok for the next friendly against Norwich this weekend.
This is Bruce’s update on the trio:
“Well, Almiron will now start with the group which is good. He’s back.
“Then, of course, we’ve got the illness to Saint-Maximin which we hope by the weekend will be ok. Callum we hope will be ok.
“Yes, we’ve got a few missing but the ones who played, in particular, good for them.”
The news is not so good for Paul Dummett. The defender’s struggles with injuries continue as Bruce didn’t sound very positive when asked about the local lad.
Dummett missed the friendly at Burton Albion last Friday with a calf injury and it looks very doubtful he’ll be back for West Ham. Though his absence could provide an opportunity for Kell Watts.
This is what Bruce said about Dummett’s injury:
“Unfortunately, he’s nicked his calf at Doncaster the other night. It’s a shame really because he’s had a really good three weeks. We’ve been unfortunate in that department.”
Finally, Bruce was asked about Yoshinori Muto, who left the club by mutual consent on Tuesday. Bruce wished the 29-year-old the best of luck and confirmed reports that he was in talks to return to Japan.
“I want to wish the kid the best of luck. It’s not really happened for him in England. Not for the want of trying, I have to tell you. He’s a smashing pro.
“I wish him the best of luck wherever he turns up. “I believe he’s thinking of going home which I think is probably best for him too. So I wish him the best of luck.”