Steve Bruce has been dealt two huge blows after Newcastle United confirmed that Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin have both been ruled until April with injuries.
Almiron was forced off at half-time during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers after developing an issue in his knee whilst stretching for the ball.
Saint-Maximin limped off the field in the 63rd-minute after sustaining a groin injury, and will now begin his rehabilitation following scans carried out earlier in the week.
The respective blows will prevent either Almiron or Saint-Maximin from featuring in a crucial period of Newcastle’s season as they wrestle with the prospect of relegation from the Premier League.
The Magpies visit drop zone rivals West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday, before meetings with Aston Villa, Brighton and Tottenham.
Bruce will now be without the remaining two of his favoured front three, who have scored 16 of Newcastle’s 27 top-flight goals and provided nine of 17 assists between them so far this season.
The Toon will hope to find answers swiftly in their search for points, with the St. James’ Park natives currently lying 17th in the Premier League standings and just three points above third-bottom Fulham, who face a tough week with fixtures against Tottenham and Liverpool.
United may have defender Emil Krafth available for Sunday’s clash with West Brom, with the Sweden international due to resume training later in the week after being taken off against Wolves with a shin issue.
Almiron and Saint-Maximin’s absences, along with that of Wilson, will leave Bruce with a serious headache as he plans how to tackle this weekend’s fixture and the weeks ahead.
Goals will be particularly thin amongst Bruce’s remaining options with only midfielder Jeff Hendrick, who has not featured in Newcastle’s last three Premier League games following a red card and a string of poor performances, also scoring more than twice in the top-flight this term.
Ryan Fraser, Jacob Murphy and academy product Elliot Anderson will all now hope they are given a chance to establish themselves, with Fraser coming off the bench to replace Almiron and providing the assist for Jamaal Lascelles against Wolves.
It was only Fraser’s second Premier League assist since joining United, but the winger’s overall display was a distant cry from his recent efforts to emerge as the most creative player in the second half.
Murphy also came close to creating a chance following his introduction, only for Joelinton to waste a golden opportunity to seal all three points, and will be keen to be given a longer run in the side ahead of becoming a free agent in the summer.
But neither will be expected to match the levels of Almiron or Saint-Maximin, who set the pace in the Magpies attack and the tone for their teammates to try and match.
“The one thing Miggy brings to our team is the work rate. He sets us going on that press and the way we want to play at the minute is with a high press,” Jonjo Shelvey told the Studs Up podcast recently.
“You want to see his stats after the game. It is absolutely ridiculous.”