Matt Ritchie put on standby at injury-hit Newcastle United after Bournemouth move breaks down
Matt Ritchie’s on standby for a return to Newcastle United’s starting XI – days after a proposed move away from the club fell through.
Ritchie was set to return to former club Bournemouth on transfer deadline day. However, the move broke down, and Ritchie ended up staying on Tyneside.
However, with Jamal Lewis struggling with a hamstring problem, Ritchie could feature at left-back against Southampton at St James’s Park tomorrow.
Steve Bruce, United's head coach, will be without captain Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez, while Ciaran Clark’s partner has gone into labour, and Paul Dummett is “struggling” on his return from long-term hamstring problems.
“Ciaran Clark’s partner has gone into labour, so we're hoping that he’ll still make it,” said Bruce. “We’ve got a worry to our left-back as well. So we’ve got one or two problems in that department. Jamal Lewis has got a hamstring problem. Let’s see what today brings.
“Lascelles and Fernandez won’t make it. It’s a problem. We’ve had one problem after another. Paul Dummett’s still struggling also. so that defensive part of the team is a bit depleted.”
Lewis, signed last summer from Norwich City, and Dummett are the club’s only recognised left-backs.
“We’ve got people who can play in there,” said Bruce. “We’re hoping Jamal will make it, but we’ve still got the likes of Matt Ritchie, people like that, to fill in.”
Ritchie, signed from Bournemouth by Rafa Benitez in 2016, has been “frustrated” with a lack of first-team football this season, according to Bruce.
"Certainly, with Matt the deal didn’t happen for one reason or another,” said Bruce, who has added Christian Atsu to his 25-man Premier League squad. “He has to accept that – and he has done – and come back into the squad.
"He’s been a very very good player at Newcastle for years, and has found himself frustrated that he’s not paying enough, which I fully understand.”
Ritchie signed a new deal at United last year keeping him at the club until 2023.
The 31-year-old has played 530 minutes of Premier League football so far this season for 16th-placed Newcastle.