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Lejeune targeting return of good form ahead of Wolves clash

Florian Lejeune believes Wolverhampton Wanderers will impose a 'difficult' test for Newcastle United ahead of the Magpies' Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm GMT).

Steve Bruce's side travel to Molineux aiming to end a winless run of three league matches following defeats to Manchester United, Everton and Leicester City.

However, with six players returning to full training in Andy Carroll, Miguel Almirón, Ciaran Clark Dwight Gayle, Paul Dummett and Jetro Willems, Lejeune admitted the returning list of squad members can only benefit United against a Wolves side currently sitting in seventh place.

Lejeune said: "Mentally, it's always a boost for the group when players are ready to come back from injuries. It gives us more options, brings freshness and players like Matt Ritchie, who have come back, which will be good for us.

"Like every weekend, it will be a very difficult game for us and Wolves are a great side who are having another great season. They started a bit slowly due to starting pre-season early for their commitments of qualifying for the Europa League but now they are really starting to put a run together.

"I've seen them in recent games where they have played against top sides like Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool and they're very organised, confident and have a set system of play that they know very well.

"It's all about doing our very best on every occasion. Things can change and we know the Premier League is a complicated league to be a part of. You get good teams that are down at the bottom, which can be a surprise, and then teams that aren't expected near the top.

"We had a good run but are suffering a little bit with with our form more recently with results going against us. It's all about now pushing in the right direction and doing our very best to climb back up the league."

Lejeune made his first start for United against Crystal Palace in December - the Frenchman's first senior fixture since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury against the Eagles in April 2018.

The 28-year-old revealed he relished his return to competitive action after eight months out but admitted the heavy period of games over the Christmas period was a challenging factor for the centre-back.

"I'm really, really happy to find myself back on the pitch and getting back to playing football after all this time," Lejeune added. "I've been lucky enough to play four games and put a run of four games together in the space of ten days so it's been non-stop. 

"I think centre-backs is an area of the field where we are best of. There's a lot of quality there which is good for the team and squad as a whole. It's a good option for the manager to have when he can call upon different centre-backs.

"It's always down to him to make the final choice. I was happy to wait and, in a way, the fact that I could take my time and I could really concentrate on getting fit again and strengthening what I needed to do by doing extra training sessions.

"I managed to turn out twice for the reserves and I was ready. I thought I could play (for the first team) but I was happy also to take my time, wait my turn and be patient.

"After not playing for so many months and then playing four games in ten days is tough and then when you look at the situation of playing two games in 48 hours.

"That is tough even when you are at the height of your fitness and very difficult physically and mentally. I was happy to get through them. First and foremost, you're thinking about not getting injured in the same place in either of your my knees but obviously you want to perform to the best of your ability and also for the team."

"Wolves are a great side who are having another great season. They started a bit slowly due to starting pre-season early for their commitments of qualifying for the Europa League but now they are really starting to put a run together."

Florian Lejeune

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