Newcastle kick-off the weekend’s Premier League action with a trip to Nottingham Forest on Friday. Eddie Howe gave his press conference ahead of the clash this morning. The head coach revealed he hopes to have the majority of his squad available but did stress a few players have missed training.
One of those is Callum Wilson, though Howe didn’t identify any players. The striker confirmed on the Footballers’ Football Podcast that he has missed training this week. Here is what he stated the following while referencing Alexander Isak:
“I’ve not trained in over a week now. So that’s why we have brought him to come into the team and not let it hamper when someone comes out.
“That’s what we’re trying to build, to get players who are almost as good as each other.
“It was a great performance from him [Isak]! But as someone who plays in his position you’re thinking ‘ah it’s going to take me another week to get back in’.”
This is nothing new for Wilson, who missed training towards the end of last week with an illness. He still managed to make a cameo in the 2-1 win against Wolves. It appears that Isak will be getting a second straight start with Wilson available from the bench.
Howe welcomes the competition as it keeps players on their toes. Miguel Almiron was also used from the bench last weekend with Howe confirming it was to rest the club’s leading goalscorer.
Howe said the following about squad rotation per Lee Ryder’s Twitter account:
“I’ve always said competition for places is key to sustaining results. We have that within the squad when everybody is fit. When we don’t, the squad is quite light in terms of bodies.
“I think it is vital you have the opportunity to do that (rest players) it is a long season with cups and Premier League, and also the way we play is demanding. We ask a lot of the players.”
Howe will be without at least three players with Emil Krafth, Anthony Gordon, and Joelinton ruled out. He still has plenty of options to make some changes but may opt to keep with the eleven that picked up the crucial win last weekend.
Howe also revealed that Gordon’s injury is slightly worse than expected. The Shields Gazette has published the following from Howe on the January signing:
“The scan wasn’t plain sailing, it wasn’t a shoe-in. It wasn’t a week or two injury.
“It’s slightly more serious than that, so we’re doing everything we can to get him back as quickly as possible.
“At the moment he’s in a period where he’s staying off the grass, staying off his feet, and the injury’s healing. It feels good, but he’s got work to do to get ready for that game.”