Newcastle United were handed a triple injury boost with the return to training of key members of Eddie Howe’s squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with Manchester United.
The Red Devils travel to St James’ Park on Sunday three points clear of Newcastle, while Tottenham Hotspur are also breathing down their necks in the race for the top four. It’s likely to be two of the three who make up the final Champions League places - although Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion have outside chances - meaning Sunday’s clash in the North-East is a huge match for both sides.
But Newcastle head into the game with a number of injury concerns. Miguel Almiron has been ruled out for around six weeks with a thigh issue, while Emil Krafth is a long-term absentee. Yet, the Magpies were boosted by the return to training of four key players ahead of the United game.
Nick Pope pulled out of the latest England squad due to a knock but was seen in training footage released by Newcastle this week. So was Allan Saint-Maximin, who came off with a hamstring injury in the 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest prior to the international break. Callum Wilson was also seen taking part in a full-contact session, despite suffering from illness and some general muscle tightness in recent weeks.
The final boost for Howe came in the form of Sven Botman, who was one of five players to withdraw from the Netherlands squad through illness last week. He was also seen in the club’s latest training gallery, however Fabian Schar and Anthony Gordon weren’t spotted in the 25 photos posted on the club’s website. Both are doubts for the game, with Schar suffering from a foot injury while Gordon sustained a recent knock to his ankle.
As for United, they’ll be without Casemiro and Alejandro Garnacho this weekend. Raphael Varane, Marcel Sabitzer, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are all doubts, while the game will come too soon for Christian Eriksen, who is reportedly set to return to the squad next week after recovering from an ankle injury. Donny van de Beek remains out with a long-term knee problem.