After picking up a priceless win against Everton at the weekend, things are beginning to look far more rosier for Newcastle in the Premier League.
The Magpies currently sit in 11th place in the table, level on points with former champions Manchester City, and four ahead of Manchester United.
On Friday evening, Steve Bruce’s side take on high-flying Southampton, with the Saints’ recent results catapulting them up the table and into the heady heights of fifth.
But whilst Ralph Hasenhuttl may have fancied picking up another three points for the home clash against the Magpies, their hopes did take a blow when it was confirmed that Danny Ings has been ruled out of action for the next few weeks at least.
Speaking on Wednesday in his pre-match press conference, Hasenhuttl admitted that his side will have to come together to make up for Ings’ absence, saying: “We are more than Danny Ings. It’s a big loss but it’s important now for other players to give us alternatives. Nobody has to play like Danny Ings, every player should play his best possible game.”
Make no mistake about it however, Ings being ruled out of the contest on Friday is a major boost to Newcastle’s chances of claiming victory. The England international has started the new Premier League campaign like a house on fire, bagging five goals in his opening eight games across all competitions – not to mention the two assists he’s also picked up as well.
The 28-year-old is the Saints’ talisman, and more often than not, sets the tone with his pressing and movement. Without him there, Hasenhuttl’s side will have to look for other ways to find some inspiration, and the job becomes that much more easier for the Newcastle back-line.
It’s advantage Bruce right now.