Newcastle have been handed a late injury boost ahead of their Premier League clash against Arsenal on Saturday afternoon, with Matt Ritchie likely to feature.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Mikel Arteta’s side, Magpies boss Steve Bruce confirmed: “We’ve got a slight doubt about Matt Ritchie. He’s got a bit of a calf injury but we think he’s going to be OK (for Sunday). Apart from that – everybody else has come through Liverpool alright.”
Ritchie has been an impressive performer in recent weeks as Newcastle begin to pick up some much-needed momentum in the closing stages of the Premier League season, even notching an assist against West Ham in a 3-2 win.
Playing in a left wing-back role in a back-five, the Scotland international’s form has even kept summer signing Jamal Lewis out of the team, and that’s a real testament to just how much he has impressed.
The £3.6m-rated ace was the subject of much conversation a few weeks back when it was revealed that he and Bruce had a confrontation, but things seemed to have worked out for the best for both of them.
His leadership role is also crucial, and it’s a trait that Newcastle teammate Dwight Gayle has previously gone on record to hail.
The striker said: “It’s not just his ability, he is a great character. He is a great and experienced player – he has done this before and he knows what it takes. He is non-stop with his talking to us, telling the boys what needs to be done. He tells the whole team when to press and when to hold.”
With the run the Magpies have been on lately, Bruce would have been desperate to not make any enforced changes for when Arsenal come to St James’ Park. With Ritchie all set to play, the Newcastle boss can rest easy knowing that one of his crucial first team players will likely be available for selection.