Steve Bruce has admitted that he fears the worst with Miguel Almiron’s potential injury sustained during Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
That’s according to Chronicle Live, who quote the Toon boss as expressing deep concern over the extent to which the Paraguayan playmaker has damaged his knee.
Almiron appeared to pick up an injury while stretching for the ball and was left distressed at half-time, forcing Bruce to replace the 27-year-old with Ryan Fraser for the second period.
Almiron earned his 18th start in 24 Premier League appearances for the season on Saturday, and will be a big miss for Newcastle should he now face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“It’s too early but for him to come off and be in the state he is in, we fear the worst,” Bruce said following the 1-1 draw with Wolves.
“He was in distress at half-time. He will have scans on Sunday to see how he is.”
Almiron’s driving presence and willingness to run helps tp stretch opposing defences and he offers United their best link-up player, connecting the deep-lying midfielders and backline with the attackers.
Bruce will have a serious headache over who could replace Almiron should he be without another key player amid a relegation fight, but the Paraguayan’s absence can open a door for Fraser to establish himself after a strong cameo showing on the back of some strong criticism.
The Chronicle’s chief Newcastle writer Lee Ryder had questioned if Fraser even wants to be at St. James’ Park earlier in the week, with him having appeared disinterested and unhappy during the Magpies’ prior 3-1 loss to Manchester United.
“Fraser, for me, doesn’t look like he wants to be here. You’re asking me an honest question and I’m giving you my opinion from what I am seeing – he doesn’t look like he wants to be here,” Ryder said (23/2, 07:35).
“It looks to me like he feels he’s a made a mistake coming to Newcastle. We are not seeing the Ryan Fraser which we saw at Bournemouth, and we know with him it could be a situation where if he’s not happy, he’s not performing and that is what it looks like at the minute.”
Fraser was far better at home to Wolves on Saturday night after replacing Almiron, with the £11m-rated maestro the most-creative player in the second half with three key passes – no other player for either side offered more than two, per WhoScored.
The 27-year-old also recorded his third assist in black and white and first since December when he delivered a darting cross into the heart of the visitor’s penalty area, picking out the advancing Jamaal Lascelles after the Toon captain lost his marker to head home powerfully.
Fraser remains without a Magpies goal of his own in the Premier League to date having seen his only shot on Saturday night blocked, but his introduction appeared inspired rather than forced.
Bruce will now surely hope to see the ex-Bournemouth winger finally establish himself if given the nod to replace Almiron, with Fraser only starting six of his 15 top-flight outings thus far this term.