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Newcastle: Alexander Isak stepping up return to fitness

Newcastle United could well be set for a timely boost heading into the second half of the season, following an update on the fitness of striker, Alexander Isak.

What’s the word?

As per the Chronicle, the 23-year-old is currently stepping up his return from injury, with the Sweden international having been included as part of the Magpies’ travelling party for the warm weather training camp in Saudi Arabia.

The report suggests that manager Eddie Howe is hopeful of having the former Real Sociedad man ready for action when club action resumes at the end of the month, with the Englishman set to assess whether the 37-cap marksman will be able to feature against Al Hilal later this week.

The 6 foot 4 superstar has not featured since the draw with Bournemouth at St James’ Park back in mid-September due to a thigh injury, having joined the northeast side for a club-record fee of around £59m over the summer.

Boost Howe’s Champions League hopes

It is no doubt encouraging news to learn that the one-time Borussia Dortmund man could even be in contention to take to the field later this week, with it having been a real “nightmare” scenario – in the words of pundit Alan Hutton – for all parties in recent months.

While fellow striker Callum Wilson has held the fort impressively in his teammate’s absence, scoring six goals in just 11 Premier League outings, it will certainly be a real boost to provide further competition to the Englishman’s striking berth by bringing Isak back into the fold.

The latter man had initially made a strong start to life in his new surroundings prior to his stint on the treatment table, with the Solna-born ace scoring twice in his three top-flight outings to date, including on debut in the narrow defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

That clash on Merseyside showcased the youngster’s undoubted finishing prowess as he lashed on from the angle to initially put the visitors ahead, while also showing great composure to fire in after the break, albeit with that second effort subsequently ruled out for offside.

Having only seen flashes of that talent thus far, it will surely be a welcome boost as far as Howe and co are concerned to have their marquee addition fit and firing again, with that impending return likely to only bolster the Tynesiders’ hopes of securing Champions League football.

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For all the talk of potential new acquisitions to strengthen the forward line – including the likes of Marcus Thuram and Mykhaylo Mudryk – the return of Isak could well prove to be like a cliched new signing.

Newcastle have already been thriving in his absence – losing just once so far this season – hence the excitement at the potential improvement that the Swede could make over the festive period and beyond.