D-Day for Allan Saint-Maximin as talisman is pencilled in for Newcastle United return

It’s decision day for Allan Saint-Maximin as the Newcastle United attacker nears a long-awaited first-team return.

The Gazette understands the Frenchman will undergo tests today to determine whether he is OK to return to full first-team training.

And should Saint-Maximin get the green light following the medical assessments, he will train with the rest of the Magpies group on Friday.

Saint-Maximin has been out of the United first-team picture since November 21, missing the club’s last 10 games in all competitions.

Newcastle United's French midfielder Allan Saint-Maximin (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal with Newcastle United's English head coach Steve Bruce (C) during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 3, 2020.

The 23-year-old was confirmed as one of the club’s numerous COVID-19 positive cases. And while others who have contracted the virus have since recovered, Saint-Maximin’s road back to health and fitness has caused more concern for the club’s medical staff, hence the player’s long-term absence.

Former Nice man Saint-Maximin is back at Newcastle’s Benton training base, but has been doing light work away from the main group, following some recovery time in France over the festive period.

The Magpies don’t return to action until Monday, when they again travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

But, having been out of action for two months, that trip is likely to come around too soon, even if ASM is passed safe to return this week.

Speaking to NUFC TV about the Saint-Maximin situation, Steve Bruce admitted there is light at the end of the tunnel for the player, who has been sorely missed by his United side, who have won none of their last eight games, scoring just four times and drawing a blank in five of those fixtures.

"Well, look, he's been out for the best part of seven weeks now so we've got to see how he is physically," Bruce told NUFC TV.

"He's still got one or two tests to be done over the next 48 hours so that's critical to him so we hope that he can get back up and started, but I would still think it's a while away yet."

A number of the Newcastle United squad have struggled with fatigue and various other issues following bouts of the virus.

Skipper Jamaal Lascelles had to be withdrawn at half-time in the FA Cup third round due to fatigue, following his COVID-19 recovery. Federico Fernandez also suffered the same fate against Fulham on December 19.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Newcastle United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of NUFC coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor