Eddie Howe issues significant new Newcastle United injury update on Alexander Isak
The striker, sidelined since September with a thigh injury suffered on international duty with Sweden, is yet to return to full training ahead of the club’s Boxing Day game away to Leicester City, though he’s “out running and kicking a ball”.
Isak, signed from Real Sociedad for a club-record £60million fee in the summer, will miss the fixture at the King Power Stadium, and Howe says the 23-year-old will also “probably” miss the December 31 home game against Leeds United.
"He’s doing well,” said United’s head coach. “We’re pleased with him. Is he going to make the next couple of Premier League games? At this moment in time, I’m not sure. Probably not.
"He’s going in the right direction, and we hope, in the busy January period we’ve got coming up, he can play a big part in that.”
Howe said the club are being “careful” with Isak, who suffered a setback earlier in the season before an anticipated comeback.
Asked where he was in his rehabilitation, Howe said: “He’s out running and kicking a ball, but when you reinjure a part of your body, we have to be careful. We want to get the next part right. I don’t want a half-ready player.
"It’s not caution. We’d do the same with any player, it is the right thing to do.”
Howe didn’t report any fresh injury concerns ahead of the Leicester game following Tuesday night’s 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth, his former club.
The fourth-round tie, played in front of a sell-out crowd, was decided by an own goal from visiting captain Adam Smith.
“I the main I think we’re pretty good,” said Howe. “Trained yesterday, a good training session. The players seem in good spirits, and are looking forward now to returning to the Premier League.”
Howe’s players will train on Christmas Day before travelling to their overnight base ahead of the game.
“For the players, we’re going to report (to the training ground) later, so they can have the morning with their families,” said Howe.