Newcastle United has been hit by a string of injuries this season but manager Eddie Howe said on Friday they are good enough to cope.
The injury list includes Sven Botman, Alexander Isak, Harvey Barnes, Jacob Murphy and Dan Burn along with a long-term ban on Sandro Tonali and Howe has never had it this bad.
“Have I ever had this many missing? Not to this level,” he told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth.
“But I don’t want to build it up to be any more than it is. We’re still good enough.”
The last thing Newcastle needed from the 2-0 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday was another injury concern but striker Callum Wilson was replaced at halftime.
“He had a tight hamstring. We’re doing various tests. We will see how he does this morning before making a decision on him for the (Bournemouth) game.” Howe said.
He also gave an update on some of the many injured players in his squad, including striker Alexander Isak who has missed the last four games with a groin injury.
“Alex is doing well and is working on his fitness levels. We are building up his load and the plan is for him to return after the international break,” said Howe.
Winger Harvey Barnes is another player who Howe said won’t be too far away from returning after the break, while central defender Sven Botman has been in the Netherlands for treatment and the manager expects to speak to him later on Friday.
Newcastle began the Premier League season with a victory before suffering three consecutive defeats but since then is unbeaten in the last seven league games and the manager was impressed with how his side reacted.
“The players have done incredibly well to adjust to the difficult start we had, that has been a test of their character. We have been close in those games but didn’t get the results we wanted.
“We have been stretched mentally and physically, but the players have responded well and that’s a big compliment to what they have given and now we need to finish this period off well at Bournemouth.”
Newcastle is without midfielder Bruno Guimaraes through suspension to add to Howe’s problems but Lewis Miley impressed when coming on late in the game at Dortmund.
Miley, 17, made his league debut as a substitute in the final game of last season but has yet to see any Premier League action in this campaign and only recently returned from illness.
“Lewis is certainly going to have a prominent role in our future generally, the way he came into the game at Dortmund when we were chasing the match was hugely impressive,” Howe said.
“He used the ball well and physically he looked really good after his illness, it was really pleasing.”
Newcastle is sixth in the table on 20 points, while Bournemouth is 18th with just one league win all season.
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