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Carroll and Saint-Maximin in contention for Brighton clash, says Bruce

Written by Tom Easterby

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce has confirmed that summer signings Andy Carroll and Allan Saint-Maximin will be part of his squad for Saturday’s Premier League game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Magpies welcome Graham Potter’s men to St. James’ Park (5:30pm kick-off) looking for a first home win of the campaign, and they have been boosted by the return to fitness of forward duo Carroll and Saint-Maximin.

Carroll, who is in line for a second United debut after returning to the club last month, has recovered from an ankle injury, while Saint-Maximin is fit again after a hamstring problem forced him off during the 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in August.

And Bruce confirmed on Friday that, barring any last-minute hitches, both players are in contention for the game against the Seagulls.

“At the top end of the pitch, without him and Allan Saint-Maximin we have been a little bit short – Dwight Gayle is another one – so we have had limited options up top, and certainly the return of Andy and Allan will give us something that can only benefit us,” he said.

“We’ve been dealt a cruel blow with injuries since the start of the season, really. With (Florian) Lejeune, we’ve had good news about him but we’ve had some long term ones with (DeAndre) Yedlin and Dwight Gayle and Andy, who we knew wasn’t going to be right for a while, but that gives us better options in the forward areas.”

He added: “We all that if Andy stays fit, he’s a wonderful, wonderful centre forward. A bit old school, if you like to say that, but certainly in his time I don’t think there has been anybody better in the last eight or ten years, when he’s been playing, of that certain type of centre forward as Andy Carroll. It’s going to be huge and it will be great for us going forward, that’s for sure.”

Brighton kicked off the season with a resounding 3-0 win at Watford but haven’t won in the league since.

But Bruce – who also confirmed that Fabian Schär is fit again, while the game has come too soon for Sean Longstaff – believes their change of style under new head coach Potter makes them a side to be reckoned with, though he sees the contest at St. James’ as a big opportunity for his charges as they look for the points that could drag them away from the drop zone.

“They’re totally different under the new manager to what they were, certainly in playing style – they play similar to us, and we’ve played three centre backs,” said Bruce.

“They’re probably going through that transition, they had a wonderful start when they won 3-0 away from home, and they’re a bit different under the new manager – they’re more possession-based.

“They’re a good side, they’ve got good players and that’s the Premier League. We’re up against a very decent side, but it’s a big opportunity for ourselves too. It would be wonderful if we can get a result tomorrow, which would give everybody a lift.”

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