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Newcastle: Bruce confirms Miguel Almiron could face Brighton after knee injury

Steve Bruce has confirmed that Miguel Almiron may be in contention to make his return from a knee injury when Newcastle United visit Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday night.

The Paraguayan has missed the Magpies’ last two Premier League fixtures due to the issue sustained during the first half of last month’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Almiron had been expected to miss this weekend’s trip to the Amex Stadium and have to wait for his 30th appearance of the season when Newcastle host Tottenham Hotspur on April 4 at the earliest.

Should Almiron start vs Brighton?

Yes, he's got to start

Yes, he's got to start

No, don't risk him

No, don't risk him

However, the 27-year-old has made solid progress in training and will be in the mix for minutes on the south coast in what will be a crucial six-pointer in the Toon’s fight for survival after Fulham lost at home to Leeds United on Friday night.

However, Bruce will still be without 10-goal top-scorer Callum Wilson (hamstring) and influential winger Allan Saint-Maximin (groin), as the Brighton clash will come too early for the duo.

“They’re both back on the grass. We still think with Callum that the international break is at the right time. He’s well into his rehabilitation, he’s back on the grass,” Bruce said on Friday.

“The same goes for Almiron, who trained for the first time yesterday [Thursday], so we’ll see how he is, but things are obviously improving, given the time.

“The same goes with Saint-Maximin, but we know with Saint-Maximin and Callum, in particular, were nasty muscle injuries, which are obviously going to take time. You have to let nature take its course.

“[Almiron]’s got a chance. We’ll see.”

Providing Almiron comes through training unscathed and did not aggravate his knee injury toward the end of the week, Bruce must look to unleash the £14.4m-rated playmaker on Brighton.

Newcastle have a chance to put distance between themselves and the drop zone with a win at the Amex after Fulham’s defeat to Leeds left Scott Parker’s men two points adrift of safety but having now played two games more than the 17th-placed Magpies.

A win over the Seagulls will also see United move above the Seagulls and better position themselves in the fight for Premier League survival, but cannot guarantee a result without Almiron on the field.

The Toon have drawn both games played without the Paraguayan as they were often starved of ideas against West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, with Bruce’s side taking nine shots from seven key passes against the former before striking 12 attempts from 11 key passes at home to the later, per WhoScored.

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Two of those chances created against the Villans last Friday came through Ryan Fraser, who was later slammed for underperforming in the false nine role Bruce had begun to build around Almiron.

In that central position, the 27-year-old had also begun to rediscover the form he had shown in the role a year ago, which merited much admiration from former Sunderland and England striker Kevin Phillips.

“He has become more clever in the last year,” Phillips told BBC Radio 5 Live, via quotes shared by Chronicle Live. “He is getting his head up more, there is a lot more composure, and, of course, the work rate is still there.

“You can see how much he is adored by the Newcastle supporters and you saw the reception he got when he was taken off [against West Brom]. Tonight, he showed a bit of everything. His decision making, his intelligence was spot on and his finishing was outstanding tonight.

“His all-round game from last year has come on. He looks a top-quality player.”

Bruce will need that Almiron back at his disposal as Newcastle fight for their Premier League survival, and particularly against a relegation rival in Brighton tonight.

AND in other news, Newcastle’s hopes of signing a “standout performer” have taken a major blow

Article title: Newcastle: Bruce confirms Miguel Almiron could face Brighton after knee injury

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