Allan Saint-Maximin fitness hint at Newcastle United as Eddie Howe issues Alexander Isak update

Eddie Howe’s issued an update on Alexander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin – as he mulls over his options for Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup semi-final.

Isak and Saint-Maximin – who both came off the bench in Saturday’s goalless draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park – have had spells out with injuries this season. However, the pair are now fit – and pushing for starts.

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And Howe was asked about their readiness to start games for Newcastle ahead of tomorrow night’s semi-final first leg against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium.

“I’d say they’re both getting there, for sure,” said United’s head coach. “I think it’s different situations. With Alex, we’ve had to be mindful of the fact that he hasn’t had a lot of training time.

“With a lot of games, you can’t train the players to the intensity that Alex has probably needed. We’ve backed off his training, and exposed him to the games, but, at some stage, he’ll need that training loan to get back to his very best levels. We’re nursing him in gently.”

Saint-Maximin is in “peak physical shape”, according to Howe.

“Allan’s had more training time,” added Howe. “He’s had more fitness work, so I think Allan is in peak physical shape.”

Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin.

Isak, signed from Real Sociedad for a club-record £60million fee last summer, returned from a long-term thigh injury earlier this month. The striker started the club’s FA Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday.

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Saint-Maximin – who missed the cup tie at Hillsborough through illness – hasn’t started a Premier League game since late August. He returned from a hamstring problem before the World Cup break.

Meanwhile, Howe hopes the experience he has in his ranks will help the team reach the Carabao Cup final.

"I think past experience helps,” said Howe. “We've got players who've played at World Cups, title winners within the group, and, hopefully, the calmness they give will rub off on the rest of the players.

"It’s just another game – and that's the way we've got to look at it.”

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Newcastle last reached the final of the League Cup in 1976, when they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City at Wembley in front of a crowd of 100,000.