Newcastle United receive major fitness boosts as key duo pictured in training
Newcastle face Pep Guardiola’s side six days after their disappointing defeat to Manchester United at Wembley - one that saw playmaker Bruno Guimaraes substituted after picking up an ankle injury. Worries over the Brazilian’s fitness seem to have been premature though after he was pictured in training on Thursday.
Newcastle are yet to win a league game this season without Guimaraes in the team, but it appears he is set to make his first appearance in the league since January at the Etihad Stadium. Furthermore, the Magpies have also been boosted by the return of Matt Targett.
Targett hasn’t featured in the league since a three minute cameo against Chelsea in November and has slowly been making his way back to full-fitness and featured for the Under-21’s a fortnight ago in his bid to force himself back into Eddie Howe’s plans. In the 27-year-old’s absence, Dan Burn has been picked at left-back, however, as Howe revealed ahead of last weekend’s Carabao Cup final, Targett is knocking on the door for selection.
Howe said: “Certainly, Matt Targett’s improved a lot. He had a game at the weekend.
“We thought it was wise to leave him out of the game, and really pleased with his fitness. I was really pleased with what he did, so I’d say yeah, he’ll be available for selection.”
Joe Willock, who started Sunday’s game on the bench after picking up a hamstring injury, was also pictured training with the group, suggesting that Howe has almost a full complement of players to pick from ahead of the trip to Manchester. Jamal Lewis and Javier Manquillo, who have made just six combined appearances for Newcastle this season, were also pictured training with the group.
The main noteworthy absentee from the set of photos released by the club was defender Fabian Schar. Schar has featured in all-but one of Newcastle’s Premier League matches this term. Ryan Fraser, who has reportedly been told to train with the Under-21’s, was not pictured in this week’s training photos.