United will potentially be without NINE of their 25-man squad on Wednesday – with Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle and Florian Lejeune joined by Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Christian Atsu and Miguel Almiron on the sidelines.
Ans while fans speculate that Bruce has been pressured into fielding what will be very much an under-strength side at St James’s Park – the head coach offers a much simpler explanation.
“The exertions of Sunday,” he said when asked about injuries.
“One or two have been coming back, a lot have had a difficult pre-season.
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“The ones where you worry, big Joe, Almiron has an ankle, if you have soft tissue injury then always a problem.
“It’s different with a muscle injury, if you are carrying a knock or bruise then of course (you could risk it).”