What’s the story?
The stoic Argentine central defender has missed the last seven games as a result of a thigh injury and, while tomorrow’s trip to Manchester United comes too soon for him, the 31-year-old should be available next weekend.
“Feddy has trained (on Thursday) and the day before, for the first time,” said Bruce in his pre-match press conference.
“Unfortunately, Man U will be too quick for him.
“He’s been a month with his calf.”
Why is this such good news?
Frankly, Newcastle’s luck on the injury front has been awful and the threat of a third relegation since 2009 seems all the more realistic as a result.
So, to have a key player returning and hopefully playing a big role in what’s to come has to be seen as good news. With the Magpies now needing to scrap for every point, being able to call on a defender as resolute as Fernandez will be a major boost.
According to WhoScored, no one has averaged more in the way of clearances per game than him (5.6) while his 1.3 blocks over the same period speak to a man capable of putting out fires at the last minute. Indeed, Fernandez is also a palpable goal threat having scored twice and assisted as many last season which, while not exactly a huge tally, accounted for roughly 10.5% of the team’s overall Premier League tally of 38.
With Callum Wilson out for the foreseeable future and no one looking convincing in terms of replacing him, Newcastle simply have to find more sources of goals and Fernandez certainly has proven to be one in the past.
Finally, some good news.
There’s still a lot of work to be done but, with Fernandez in tow, the team will look even just a little bit stronger.