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The Newcastle United Blog | Howe Remains Coy In Fitness Update After Second Friendly Win

Eddie Howe had a surprise plan for today’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano. He picked an eleven while naming a bench full of under-21s and reserve keeper Mark Gillespie. In the starting eleven was England duo Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier.

It was revealed after the teamsheet was unveiled that Newcastle had a training game yesterday which accounts for the depleted lineup for today’s friendly. The bulk of the eleven got a full 90 minutes with just Jonjo Shelvey, Chris Wood, and Trippier getting substituted.

What this means for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup clash against Bournemouth involves some guesswork. Howe could have his starting eleven in mind and didn’t want to exert those players this afternoon. However, some involved today will almost certainly play against The Cherries.

Chris Wood, who converted a penalty in the second half, appears set for another Cup start. The Athletic has published some comments from Howe on his other two strikers, Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson. Both appear unlikely to feature on Tuesday with Isak being ruled out by Howe.

This is what the head coach said on his record signing, who has still not recovered from the thigh injury he initially picked up in September:

“With Alex, there was no fixed return date on him. The medical team have tried to just look at his recovery day by day and just get him in the best physical shape he can be in the ideal time.

“Now, we hoped to have him fit and available for the Bournemouth game, but I think that is looking unlikely. So then we’ll just have to take it on a game-by-game basis.”

Howe also conceded that Isak could miss the holiday fixtures meaning he may be out until either the FA Cup tie at Hillsborough or the following week when Fulham come to town. That is somewhat concerning if Wilson’s return to action is also delayed.

Howe disputed that Wilson has an injury but remained coy with his fitness update. Howe said the following about Callum after today’s match:

“We’ve only seen Callum briefly. But I don’t want to give too much away, to be honest. No (he isn’t injured), Callum’s come back OK. But with different training…


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