Newcastle United duo Florian Lejeune and Matt Ritchie are back in first-team training, according to The Chronicle.
Lejeune could boost Newcastle’s defensive options but he is unlikely to be fit for the weekend. Newcastle take on Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend and Ritchie has a chance of making the game.
Ritchie has been out injured since Newcastle played Leicester City earlier this season. Hamza Choudhury’s tackle has left Ritchie on the sidelines for the past few weeks. The Scotland star has not played since August.
Lejeune, on the other hand, has been missing since last April. He suffered a serious knee injury which has kept him out for six months. Newcastle are likely to err on the side of caution with Lejeune.
But while Lejeune will definitely miss Wolves, Bruce reckons that Ritchie has a chance of making the squad. He told The Chronicle last week: “Matt is OK. He is progressing along nicely. He is doing warm weather training at the moment in the Middle East. All the reports I am getting back are good.”
Since then, Ritchie has stepped up his recovery by joining the first-team for training.
Newcastle must be careful not to rush Lejeune back. Knee injuries are complicated and bringing him back too early could make things worse. The Magpies need the 28-year-old Frenchman fit for the rest of the season.
Ritchie is a vital player for Newcastle, given his versatility, commitment and energy. His return will be a timely boost with the club hovering around the relegation zone at the moment.