After grinding out a very impressive result against West Ham in the Premier League last week, Newcastle United make the trip to Brentford looking to continue their good form.
Allan Saint-Maximin could once again be missing from action following his injury, and the Magpies boss Eddie Howe delivered an update on why he couldn’t be involved at the London Stadium.
Speaking after Newcastle’s battling 1-1 draw against the Hammers last time out, Howe said: “Maxi got a kick on his calf against Aston Villa, I think you saw him limping towards the end of the game. He didn’t train this week. We hoped he’d be fit but obviously he didn’t make the game.
“Hopefully, nothing too serious with Maxi but it was enough to keep him out today.”
In his place, Jacob Murphy made a very rare start, completing the full 90 minutes for the first time since mid-December when he achieved that feat in back-to-back games against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Despite making 19 appearances in the Premier League, many of those have mainly come as late cameos, amounting to just 897 minutes of action in the competition.
But, when Murphy is on song, he can be a threat going forward, and someone who can be relied upon defensively too.
After seeing him produce a fine performance against Spurs a couple of years ago, The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter waxed lyrical, saying: “Jacob Murphy outstanding for NUFC at right wing-back, ran himself into the ground, defending/attacking, got cramp, eventually subbed. His resilience echoed all over.”
And, former Premier League forward Noel Whelan once hailed Murphy’s quality out wide, saying: “Murphy is a player with so much ability. He was brought to that club to run, be direct, use that pace and skill that he has with the ball at his feet and now he seems to be doing it.”
With Saint-Maximin out, a run of consistent games could be what gets Murphy back into the thick of things and finding his form – a far cry from what could have been.
Indeed, reports from The Northern Echo back in the summer of 2020 suggested that Steve Bruce did not envisage Murphy being a part of his 25-man squad for the season, and was content with letting him go on a permanent basis.
Now, Murphy has the perfect chance to revive his St James’ Park career and be a part of things going forward.