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Howe hits out at ‘fake stories’ as Newcastle injury update delivered

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe criticised the proliferation of “fake stories” around his team’s fitness as he delivered a detailed injury update ahead of their meeting with Crystal Palace.

The Magpies travel to Selhurst Park on Wednesday for an 8pm kick-off with Oliver Glasner’s in-form side as they bid to qualify for Europe.

Newcastle have been brutalised by injuries and absences this season, with ten players currently on the treatment table and Sandro Tonali serving a ten-month suspension for breaching betting regulations.

“We’re trying to get as many players fit to make the difference for us,” Howe said on Tuesday. “I think there’s some fake stories out there about who is training and who isn’t. None will be back for tomorrow, but we’re hoping one or two come back before the end of the season.”

One player who is nearing a return to action is Callum Wilson. The striker, who underwent pectoral surgery in February, has returned to training and could play again before the season concludes.

“Callum has trained really well this week; it has been good to have him back,” Howe said. “The energy and quality that he brings, he has come back looking really good. We anticipate he will be able to hit the ground running and make an impact for us.”

Alexander Isak has been in flying form lately, scoring seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances, but Howe will be a relieved man to have two strikers available for selection again.

“I think it gives the whole team confidence and it filters down when you have attacking players. Add Harvey (Barnes) to that, and then you’ve got Elliott Anderson back that adds strength. We’ve got flexibility in those players.”

There was less good news to deliver on Joe Willock and Lewis Miley, who will not return to the pitch until next season. The ex-Arsenal attacker will not undergo surgery on his Achilles problem, though.

“We have decided that a period where he strengthens the area around his Achilles will benefit him more,” revealed Howe.

“The long-term view was taken, we will get him right for next season. Surgery wouldn’t be beneficial for him in this situation. It is frustrating for Joe, but hopefully we can get to the situation where he is playing freely next season.

“The decision was made on Lewis to protect him long-term. We won’t see Lewis again this season. Even if there was a chance, we took that away quite early on with his age, we are just thinking about his long-term prospect.”

On the fitness of Kieran Trippier, Miguel Almiron, Nick Pope and Joelinton, the Newcastle manager added: “We hope all four can play [this season], but it’s difficult to put a date on it because none of them are training at the moment.”


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