This article is part of Football FanCast’s Injury News series, which considers the impact of the latest updates on players’ fitness.
Florian Lejeune is still on the road of recovery from a knee injury sustained in April, but he has set his sights on the match against Aston Villa as a potential return date.
The Frenchman has been sidelined for a lengthy spell and that means it will take him a while to get back to full fitness, and given the nature of his injury the club is deciding to take extra caution.
Steve Bruce has said that he is now available for selection, but decided against his inclusion for the match against Bournemouth due to it coming just a little too early, with the boss keen for him to get more minutes under his belt.
Lejeune recently started a match against Aston Villa U23s and such games are good to help him get up to speed, and he is anticipating his return with great excitement according to his manager.
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The 28-year-old was often a regular in the XI under Rafael Benitez when fit, but two lengthy spells out injured due to his knee have could cast a little doubt over his Newcastle future, particuarly as other centre-backs have filled in and done well.
Bruce has organised his defence superbly in the last few games, even turning Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez into goalscorers in recent matches, but games against Tottenham and Chelsea showed how difficult it is to beat his side.
Even when Jamaal Lascelles departed the pitch last Saturday there were few issues, with Paul Dummet performing well, and therefore Lejeune could struggle to get back into the team when fit, despite the fans rating him highly.
After all, Fabian Schar is still to make a comeback from injury, too, and he has been the Magpies’ best defender this season, as his stats would suggest.
While Lejeune is apparently displaying the right attitude, his injury record means he is less dependable than Bruce’s other options, and given their current form it looks unlikely that he will be quick to make adjustments to a winning formula.