Steve Bruce has revealed that Newcastle United will boast a near fully fit squad for their trip to Everton on Saturday, as he strives to get the Magpies back to winning ways.
The Toon were without defenders Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and DeAndre Yedlin for their 2-1 loss at home to Leeds United on Tuesday night, in which defeat made it 11-straight winless games for the Tyneside outfit across all competitions.
United have also lost their last six-in-a-row but saw Allan Saint-Maximin make an instant impact from the bench against Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites, and could opt to start the winger at Goodison Park following his recovery from coronavirus.
So, with changes on the cards, here’s a potential line-up Bruce could name when Newcastle visit Everton this Saturday lunchtime…
Karl Darlow was on hand to produce a couple of crucial stops in defeat to Leeds but was beaten by the visitors’ only two shots on target, yet will be expected to retain his place in goal having opened all 20 of Newcastle’s Premier League fixtures this term.
Bruce may also name a mostly unchanged backline at Goodison Park, despite Clark and Dummett’s returns to training, with Yedlin replacing Isaac Hayden at full-back now that the United States international’s visa issues are believed to have been resolved.
“Fede Fernandez won’t make it, unfortunately. Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett trained yesterday [Thursday] for the first time, so we’ll see how they are. It’s maybe a bit early for the two of them, but we’ll see how they are this morning,” Bruce said.
Hayden returning to midfield with Yedlin recalled will likely see the Arsenal product partner Jonjo Shelvey in the engine room, with Jeff Hendrick again not proving to be Bruce’s answer in the role after questionably being retained for the Leeds defeat after an anonymous showing at Aston Villa.
Jacob Murphy struggled at first against the Whites on Tuesday night and lost the ball in the lead up to the visitors’ opening goal, but rallied in the second period with a couple of inviting crosses before making way for Saint-Maximin.
Murphy may now be given a reprieve, as Ryan Fraser ghosted from wing to wing against Leeds whilst Bruce shifted the Scotland international across the pitch trying to find a role that would see the summer arrival prove the biggest threat.
Miguel Almiron looked his most dangerous after moving in centrally against Leeds and will hope to start in the role against Everton, with Saint-Maximin opening the action on the left. The £29m-rated French maestro has not started a league game since November after suffering with the long-term effects of Covid-19.
Callum Wilson will be expected to start as the sole centre-forward in the Newcastle line-up at Everton after a hard-working performance against Leeds, which failed to return the 28-year-old his first goal of 2021 after six consecutive fruitless outings.
AND in other news, Newcastle could part with a £30k-p/w dynamo before the end of the month…