Brentford handed fitness boost ahead of Newcastle United clash with Ivan Toney set for injury return to face his former side
All eyes were on in-form Ivan Toney when the sides met in November, but a lean spell in-front of goal has since followed for the Brentford man.
Newcastle, under the watchful eye of Jason Tindall after Eddie Howe’s positive Covid-19 test, took the lead just ten minutes in through captain Jamaal Lascelles.
However, a minute later the scores were level, courtesy of former United player Ivan Toney.
All the pre-match talk had surrounded whether or not Toney would come back to haunt his old side and he did just that with a powerful display at St James’s Park.
Speaking post-match in November, Toney admitted that despite being sold by Newcastle, the club still held a place in his heart:
“It meant a lot [to score] but there’s no hard feelings against the club, they still hold a place in my heart and I wish them all the best throughout the season.”
After that clash in November, Brentford were seven points and five places above Newcastle - that gap is down to just two points and could be flipped on its head with a victory for Howe’s side on Saturday.
This slump in form also coincided with a slump in-front of goal for Toney who has netted just three times since that clash.
Injury problems have hampered the striker recently and the Bees have been without their talisman since the 22nd January and have scored just once in his absence.
So, will Toney be ready to haunt his old side once again on Saturday? Brentford boss Thomas Frank believes it is a ‘realistic’ aim:
“I would say we knew it was very tough to have him back for this game.” Frank told the BBC after his side’s defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.
“I would say it is much more realistic that he will be part of the team [to face Newcastle] on Saturday.”
A source of comfort for Newcastle fans could come by the fact that a Dan Burn-inspired Brighton side kept Toney quiet when the sides met on Boxing Day, whilst a resurgent Magpies defence can also boast the joint-best Premier League defensive record so far in 2022, having conceded just three times.