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Consistency is key, says Howe ahead of Hammers clash

With ten Premier League fixtures remaining for Newcastle United this season, head coach Eddie Howe is targeting a strong conclusion to the 2023/24 campaign ahead of Saturday's visit of West Ham United (kick-off 12.30pm GMT).

The Magpies return to English top-flight action at St. James' Park this weekend aiming to continue their pursuit of European football next season with a positive result against David Moyes' side, who currently sit four points above Newcastle in seventh place, despite playing an additional fixture.

Howe provided injury updates on the likes of Sven Botman and Lewis Miley as well as highlighting his "pride" in Anthony Gordon's senior international bow for England last weekend, with the 23-year-old forward starting against Brazil at Wembley Stadium last weekend.

Here are some of the boss' main talking points from the pre-match media briefing at the Magpies' training centre in Benton on Friday morning:

On Sven Botman, who has undergone surgery after sustaining a knee injury in the Magpies' Emirates FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Manchester City:

“A big blow. It’s a complex story around Sven this season since he got his knee injury. Initially, he had a partial tear of his ACL, we saw specialist opinion on that injury and there were conflicting reports on what he should do next.

"Ultimately, our medical team advised him to get surgery. He wanted to carry on playing and we'll always try to guide and help the players but it's their bodies and they have to make the final decision.

"I've seen several players from that injury come back and carry on playing and stay fit. It's a delicate issue for him. He now has a long period of rehab ahead of him and we wish him well and hope he comes back in a really good place."

On Lewis Miley's injury status following the 17-year-old's involvement with England's Elite League squad last week:

“Lewis has come back with a back problem. We are seeking specialist opinion on that. It's slightly unclear on what the injury is so we don’t know yet.”

On the season run-in, with the Magpies currently situated in tenth place of the English top-flight on 40 points:

“With the ten games we have, it is a really good opportunity for us to finish strongly. We are looking for consistency in our performance and of results.

"It's a good chance for us to build for next year and to find our best rhythm back, hopefully welcoming some key players back from injury and we can feel that strength towards the end of the season.

"It's important for us. I think there's been a few quotes that our season is over. Internally, we're certainly not looking at it like that at all. We are focused on building and finding some positive momentum.”

On Anthony Gordon's England senior debut:

“It is a really satisfying feeling for me to look at Anthony and all the players that are travelling all over the world, representing their countries. (It's) a huge feeling of pride.

"I have seen how hard Anthony has had to work for that moment and what he's given to the process to achieve that. It hasn't been easy for him. He's really had to work at every aspect of his game.

"He has been committed. He's had some difficult moments but then, this season, he has flourished and produced some really consistent performances. To see him get that moment, I knew how much it would mean to him. 

"It was great to see him and Bruno going against each other.”

On the challenge of West Ham United, who won the Europa Conference League title last season:

“We want to be closing that gap. They are a very difficult team to play against, a dangerous team. They have done well in European competition and found some good Premier League form during the season but we are back at home.

"It feels like a long time since we've played back at St. James' Park. We left on a good note in our last game there and we are desperate to pick that up again."

On Elliot Anderson's progress:

“He is getting there. He's had a really positive two weeks. He looks stronger and more robust and that comes from training time.

"He is a really talented player and someone I really want to see stay fit and do well for the remainder of the season.”


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Eddie Howe's pre-West Ham media briefing in full

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