Steve Bruce has told his pre-Manchester City press conference – as per the Chronicle – that he could be without midfielders Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden for Sunday evening’s FA Cup quarter-final clash.
The Toon earned a point on Wednesday night against Aston Villa at St. James’ Park despite being without four senior players in the form of the Longstaff brothers, Ciaran Clark and Florian Lejeune.
However, given the amount of games, injuries are rife at the moment. Indeed, the Bundesliga have shown an increase in injuries by more than 200% since the restart – and that seems to be an issue now at Newcastle.
Both Ritchie and Hayden were substituted in the 1-1 draw against Villa and both players are now doubts. Clark and Lejeune are definitely expected to miss Sunday’s Cup clash, while both Longstaff brothers are doubts. But Bruce could be without six.
“We will see how they are today,” Bruce said on Ritchie and Hayden. “It is a big training session today. We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think we would pick up soft tissue injuries but we will see where we are in the next 24-48 hours.”
TBR’s view – If Ritchie and Hayden are out, who comes in?
Since the restart, both Hayden and Ritchie have been excellent. Stand-out performers along with Allan Saint-Maximin in the 3-0 win over Sheffield United – in which Ritchie scored – both impressed until taken off against Villa.
But if both are missing from Sunday’s last-eight outing, January recruits Nabil Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro are likely to replace them. But Bruce will be desperate to have both available to him come Sunday evening.