Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has revealed that defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Schär are his ‘biggest concerns’ heading into Saturday.
The Magpies travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Frank Lampard’s in-form Chelsea side, and Bruce has a couple of selection decisions to make.
“Schär and Yedlin had been the biggest concerns because they played on Tuesday night – Yedlin in Canada, for 70 minutes,” he said at his pre match press conference, as per journalist Matthew Raisbeck’s personal Twitter account.
“We’ll see how he is because he hadn’t played for four months. Schär is OK, and both will train this morning.”
You can see why Bruce is worried about the fitness of these two players, with Schär playing both games for Switzerland over the international break, latterly against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, and Yedlin playing in Canada on Wednesday. So they both won’t have got back to training until Thursday at the earliest, which doesn’t give them much time to get to grips with tactics and recover from their international excursions in time to face the Blues. It’s a tall order, and so Bruce might consider starting one of Emil Krafth or Javier Manquillo in place of Yedlin at right wing back. Schär is a much more important player for Newcastle, one of the most vital, and so it’s going to be difficult to leave him out, even if he probably needs it. Paul Dummett or Federico Fernandez could come in for him in theory, but they simply don’t provide the same quality as the Swiss star.