The north east giants have been without the 30-year-old since the back end of August, when he went down under a shocking tackle from Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury.
Bruce has admitted he is a big fan of the Scotland international: “Of course you’re going to miss someone like Matt because of his energy,” he told The Chronicle.
“He’s effervescent – he’s always, always positive – so we’re without him at the minute so we have to deal without him but certainly Matt Ritchie is one of them.”
Newcastle really have missed Ritchie, as much for his personality as for his production on the pitch. Not only is he a top class footballer who can operate in any number of positions, but he is one of the undisputed leaders of Bruce’s squad. He brings a positive, hard-working energy that is hard to replicate, as Bruce has found out. You can’t imagine the former Bournemouth man downing tools against Leicester City in the way most of the Newcastle players did. He would have kept on fighting to the very end and tried his hardest to attempt to pull the Magpies back into the game. Despite him not being fully fit at the moment, it sounds as if Ritchie is still having a positive impact around the training ground and in the dressing room. Hopefully, then, he will be able to get back to 100% soon and start playing for the first team once again.