Newcastle United will miss 'big chunk' of squad against West Bromwich Albion due to Covid-19 infections

Steve Bruce says he’ll be without a “big chunk of players" against West Bromwich Albion.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 10:48 am

Tomorrow’s home game will go ahead after Newcastle United's players returned to training this week, initially in small groups, following a Covid-19 outbreak at the club which saw last week’s fixture against Aston Villa at Villa Park postponed.

Asked how many players would be unavailable for the Premier League fixture, head coach Bruce said: “You’ll have to wait until tomorrow (to find out).

"We’ve got two or three who’ve come back into the squad. It was good to see them back. We’ve got enough to pick a team. We’ll see how we go. It was a significant number of people in the group. We’ll be without a big chunk of players."

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Bruce added that “one or two” staff members were “really poorly” with Covid-19 infections.

Newcastle closed the training ground last week after three unnamed players – and one member of staff – missed the win over Crystal Palace following positive Covid-19 tests.

Further positives tests followed over the weekend, and the club’s squad has been tested twice since then.

Asked about the past fortnight, Bruce said: “Difficult, that’s for sure. I have to say a big well done to the medical people. It was incredible how it all developed.

Steve Bruce.

"We were away from the training ground since Palace. Thankfully, we’re far better than where we were last Monday

“We’ve been able to reopen the training ground. We’ve been back to normal for the last two or three days, and we’ve got enough to pick 11 to hopefully win us the match.”

Asked how close the club, which has been liaising with Public Health England, came to asking for another postponement, Bruce said: “Last Monday was a difficult day. We were a lot better off today than last Monday.

“We’ve got enough to make sure we’re competitive in the game.”

The club is 13th in the Premier League, having taken 14 points from 11 games. West Brom are 19th with six points, and manager Slaven Bilic is under intense pressure at The Hawthorns ahead of the Newcastle fixture.

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