Sky Sports pundit 'feels sorry' for Steve Bruce after Newcastle United blow
Former West Ham and Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker feels sorry for Steve Bruce after Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were ruled out until April.
The attacking duo join Callum Wilson on the sidelines, as well as defenders Javier Manquillo and Fabian Schar ahead of the final 12 matches of the season.
Wilson, Almiron and Saint-Maximin have provided 16 of the Magpies’ 27 Premier League goals this term. Without them, Jeff Hendrick is the club’s top scorer with two.
“You really do have to feel sorry for Steve Bruce ” Reo-Coker told Sky Sports’ Football Show.
"You look at the two players who are out, also Callum Wilson, but (Allan) Saint-Maximin and (Miguel) Almiron are two vital pieces of Newcastle’s survival chances, especially Almiron.
"Almiron is the type of player that you would hate to play against.
"Recently, if you look at his performances, he’s become the heartbeat of that team and he’s just started to gain a bit more extra confidence and belief in front of goal where he’s actually taking opportunities on himself now, instead of always looking for that pass.
"He was gaining confidence and now, to be out, it’s a big loss for Newcastle.”
Bruce’s side are just three points above the relegation zone but they could drop into it on goal difference, if Fulham beat Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
Newcastle’s trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday signals the start of three massive games with Aston Villa and Brighton to come after.
Bruce will hope to have Almiron and Saint-Maximin at his disposal when Tottenham Hotspur visit St James’s Park on April 3.
Reo-Coker added: "You look at their next three fixtures, the West Brom and Brighton games are massive games for Newcastle and vital to their survival in the Premier League.
"The two players that are out with the pace they have and the attacking threat they possess is going to be a difficult and uphill struggle for them.”