Eddie Howe hinted Newcastle United could welcome back the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin “soon” following Saturday’s draw with Crystal Palace.
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The club have struggled to field their strongest XI this season, with record-signing Alexander Isak yet to line up alongside Callum Wilson, Guimaraes and Saint-Maximin.
Wilson picked up a hamstring injury during the thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City last month, while Guimaraes and Saint-Maximin are suffering with similar problems having tweaked something in games against Tranmere Rovers and Wolves respectively.
Emil Krafth and Jonjo Shelvey remain long-term absentees and, frankly, the squad does not look deep enough in terms of quality. Indeed, Sean Longstaff would surely be considered quite a significant downgrade on Guimaraes and the same would perhaps be said of Ryan Fraser and Saint-Maximin, who put in a fantastic performance against City and scored a brilliant goal against Wolves.
Aside from Krafth and Shelvey, none of the injuries are thought to be particularly serious. At Friday’s pre-match press conference, Howe hinted Wilson was slightly behind Guimaraes and Saint-Maximin in his recovery, and the head coach provided a further update at St James’ Park on Saturday.
What did Howe say about Newcastle’s injury list?
Talking to reporters after the draw, Howe said (via the Shields Gazette): “Hopefully, they’re not going to be far away. Maybe not all three together, but we hope to get a couple back soon.”
When asked if Newcastle would have beaten Palace with such players available, he replied: “Hypothetical, but yeah, we’ve got a higher chance of winning the game, because they’re top-quality players.
“You take those three players out of any team, the team will suffer.”
How badly do Newcastle need them back?
While there are plenty of caveats in terms of injury, VAR decisions and the fixture list to consider, the fact is Newcastle have won only one of their opening six games.
With West Ham, Bournemouth and Fulham up next, Howe will surely feel confident of getting some wins on the board should his key players start to return.