Eddie Howe’s cagey eight-word response after confirming fresh Newcastle United ‘injury’
The match at St James’s Park marks Newcastle’s return to competitive action following the World Cup break with Howe hoping to progress to the quarter-finals with a win against his former club.
Despite it being over a month since United’s last competitive match, Howe there was no positive injury update on record signing Alexander Isak. Saturday’s friendly match against Rayo Vallecano saw Howe leave out 16 first team players as The Magpies went on to secure a 2-1 win.
Winger Allan Saint-Maximin picked up a ‘slight injury’ during the match and will have his fitness assessed ahead of the Bournemouth game.
When asked about the fitness of his squad, Howe responded: “No, we don't have a fully fit squad. Naturally there are a couple of injuries.
“There is a slight injury [to Saint-Maximin], we'll see today when he comes in. After a game things can be sore but they can settle quickly.”
Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope were both involved on Saturday and are in contention to feature once again after returning from the World Cup. Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Bruno Guimaraes are also back in training ahead of the game but Howe wouldn’t confirm if they’d be involved.
“We'll wait and see,” he said. “I've spoke with all of the international players when they came back. Kieran and Nick were very keen to play in the game and those conversations are important because those boys have had not just a physical load but a mental load from being at the World Cup.”
Howe added when asked about Newcastle’s current striker situation with Chris Wood expected to lead the line: “Not much has changed from Alex. We're still in the same situation where we're assessing him day by day to make sure when he returns he is in the best possible condition.
"With Callum, I never said there was an issue with Callum. So yeah, he’s fine.”
First team regulars Dan Burn, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton also sat out Saturday’s match, and Howe gave a deliberately coy response when asked about their fitness.
He said: “Wait and see when we announce the team.”