Newcastle United injury 'mistakes' amid worrying update and fresh £32m blow ahead of Bournemouth & Arsenal
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While The Magpies were dealt a boost with Anthony Gordon's ankle issue not being as bad as first feared as the winger was able to get through 90 minutes of the 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, both Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy have emerged as fresh concerns.
Murphy felt his calf during the warm-up at the City Ground before Wilson suffered a muscle injury in his arm during the closing stages of the match. The pair are doubts for Saturday's match against AFC Bournemouth at St James' Park (3pm kick-off).
In addition, Newcastle also have Alexander Isak, Joe Willock, Elliot Anderson, Matt Targett, Nick Pope and Joelinton all out injured. At some stage of the season, almost every member of the squad has suffered with injuries while Sandro Tonali has been ruled out for the rest of the season following a betting ban.
"We went into this season with a squad built to cope with all the demands we would face and all the competitions we would play in," Howe said. "Unfortunately, for us, we hope it’s been a one-off season. Not just the number of injuries we have had, but the length of time those players have been out for.
"That has been the most difficult thing for us to deal with. You can handle one or two, but it has been three of four months for five, six, eight players. There has been no light at the end of the tunnel and then your squad is stretched and you get more injuries."
Newcastle have also struggled with managing injuries, notably Sven Botman played on for two matches after suffering cruciate ligament damage in his knee while the club opted against surgery on Harvey Barnes' foot injury, delaying his return.
"Certainly, we have made mistakes," Howe admitted. "Certainly we could do things better. And then you add Sandro’s situation in on top of that in an area of the team where we could not afford that to happen, we have lost him as well. It’s been one of those season where you can feel everything has gone against us. "When you have the number of injuries we have had some of those have come from too much load or maybe our programmes are not good enough in the gym. The players do a lot of work. They don’t just go out on the training pitch, they do a lot of gym work, a lot of different things.
"If we are sitting here going we have not made any mistakes I think we are being fools here. So of course we analyse everything.
"So when I say we are, I include everyone at the football club. No individual, no individual department, we are all in it together. Of course we have to look at that and respond and improve."
Isak, Willock and Anderson are thought to be closing in on injury returns. But Howe played down Willock's return in particular given the nature of his Achilles injury. "There is no certainty until he’s back that he will be back," Howe said on Willock. "So fingers crossed he will. He’s in the last stages of his rehab and he’s working hard and doing well."