Newcastle United are currently third in the Premier League, however, Eddie Howe has been dealt several injury issues over the season so far and has now given a promising update on two players who have been out of action.
What’s the latest?
The Magpies took part in a friendly last night with Al-Hilal during their Saudi Arabia tour, with both Chris Wood and Joelinton suffering injury concerns over the game.
However, Howe took to his post-match interview to give a promising update on the player’s condition (via Chronicle Live):
“I think Chris has just got a back problem. I don’t think it’s too bad. Joelinton felt a tightness in his hamstring. I don’t think it’s a pull or anything. Fingers crossed, they’re not too bad.”
It’s great news for Howe
There is no doubt that Howe will be relieved that both players – as it stands – don’t appear to have suffered serious injuries during the friendly, as the manager will be desperate to keep his squad fit for when they return to action later this month.
Indeed, Newcastle do not have another Premier League fixture until after Christmas but they will play in the Carabao Cup on the 21st of December, just three days after the World Cup final, so will still likely be without many of their key players for the clash with Bournemouth.
Joelinton, in particular, has played an integral part in the Magpies’ impeccable league form that has led to their top-four position ahead of the international tournament in Qatar and Howe will surely be hoping that the talented Brazilian can continue to positively impact the team over the second half of the season.
Over 13 top-flight appearances this season, the 26-year-old ace has scored one goal, registered one assist and successfully completed 56% of his dribbles, as well as averaging 1.2 interceptions, 1.1 key passes, 2.5 tackles and 6.6 duels won per game.
Wood, on the other hand, has not had as much of a starring role in the team this season due to Callum Wilson’s incredible form in front of goal and the signing of Alexander Isak, which has left the former Burnley striker on the bench for the majority of the season.
Over 14 league appearances this season, the 31-year-old has averaged just 21 minutes per game and made just two starts, scoring one goal and taking 7.4 touches per game.
Although Wood has not been a key player for Howe this season, it is likely that he will be utilised over the second half of the season to avoid injury due to fixture congestion and if Newcastle can progress in domestic trophy competitions it would be expected that the striker will be seen often.
With that being said, Howe will be delighted but cautious in his approach to preparations for Newcastle’s return to competitive football in a few weeks as the side are in a great position to compete for a domestic trophy and in contention to qualify for European football next season.
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