Howe to make late call on Wilson before Bournemouth battle
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe says he will make a late call on the fitness of striker Callum Wilson before naming his side to face Bournemouth on Saturday evening (5:30pm kick-off).
Former Cherries forward Wilson - who was named in the England squad for their final EURO 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia this week - is nursing a tight hamstring following the Magpies' Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night.
And while Howe said that apart from Wilson United looked to have avoided any further setbacks to their injury-hit squad after the midweek defeat in Germany, there are still question marks about the availability of his number nine ahead of the contest at the Vitality Stadium.
The Newcastle head coach also discussed his return to the South Coast, where he spent two spells each as a player and a manager, lifting the Cherries from League Two to the top flight during his time in charge.
He also provided an update on some of the longer-term injury problems in the Magpies' ranks at his pre-match media briefing at the club's Benton training centre.
Here are some of the main topics covered by Howe on Friday morning:
On the fitness of Wilson...
"Callum has a tight hamstring. We are doing various tests on him. We will see how he does this morning before making a decision on the game. Other than that, we have no fresh injuries from the other night."
On Andoni Iraola's Bournemouth...
"They have a very good manager, their set-up is very good. They have good players and have invested a lot of money in the squad over the summer.
"The Vitality Stadium is a tough place to go, but our focus is on our players, the performance and on the game. Our only focus is to try to win."
"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.
"No massive news on Sven - he is progressing well, (and) he has been away in Holland getting specialist treatment. I think he's back here today so I will chat with him and see how he is getting on."
On his team's attitude during their tough recent run of fixtures...
"The players have done incredibly well to adjust to the difficult start that we had - that has been a test of their character. We had been close in those games but didn't get the results we wanted. It has been an intense period.
"We have been stretched mentally and physically, but the players have responded well and that is a big compliment to what they have given and now we need to finish this period off well at Bournemouth."
On the second anniversary of his appointment at Newcastle United...
"It's been an incredible two years. When you have an anniversary, you realise how quick time goes. When people have said it's been two years, it's like, 'wow'. When you look back at some of the memories within that time, it's been an amazing period in my life.
"It's been a brilliant two years, and I can't thank the directors, the owners, the players, the supporters enough for everything they have given to help the team. The people here in Newcastle have really embraced me and my family. I feel very much a part of the area, the community – I can't thank everyone enough for that."