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Magpies boss Bruce says Wilson could return at Palace

Leading goalscorer Callum Wilson is back in contention for Newcastle United’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace on Friday night, Steve Bruce has confirmed.

The England frontman missed last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea after suffering a hamstring injury at Southampton just before the international break.

But with United looking to arrest their recent slump, they have been boosted by the news that summer signing Wilson – who has made a blistering start to his Newcastle career – is in line for a return at Selhurst Park after coming through training unscathed.

“As we speak now, he’ll be fit. He’s trained all week,” said the Magpies’ head coach.

“We didn’t think we could risk him (against Chelsea), so he will be available which obviously we’re delighted about.

“Already he’s made a difference. He’s got six goals already in eight games in the Premier League – he didn’t play last week – so we’re delighted with his return.

“We have got one or two other niggles. We have one or two problems with Covid, so we have to manage that as well, but we’re delighted to see Callum back.”

Bruce wouldn’t be drawn on those affected by Covid but confirmed that “two or three individuals” based at United’s Benton training centre are self-isolating.

However, the Newcastle boss says midfield duo Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are also in with a shout of making their own returns from injury against Roy Hodgson’s side.

“We’re not as bad as most. When I see other clubs and the situation they’re in, certainly in terms of injuries anyway, we’re OK,” says Bruce.

“We’re getting a few back – we’ve got Jonjo back, we’ve got Matt Ritchie back, we’ve got Callum Wilson back. They can only be positives.

“The negatives, of course, are managing this awful virus which unfortunately sneaks up on us all.”

Palace, meanwhile, were beaten by 1-0 at Burnley on Monday night but it has been a largely solid start to the 2020/21 campaign for Hodgson’s men, who currently sit 11th in the table – above Arsenal and Manchester City, and level on points with Manchester United.

And Bruce has paid tribute to the 73-year-old former England boss Hodgson, who has stabilised Palace since his arrival in 2017.

“Roy is hugely respected by us all for what he’s done and what he’s achieved, and it’s no coincidence that he’s still performing the way he is,” said Bruce.

“Certainly, when you go to Crystal Palace now, they’re a very, very decent side – they’ve got good players, like most of the Premier League.

“I’m delighted for him – I don’t think I’ll be going when I’m 70-odd, but fair play to him! He’s still got the enthusiasm for it and certainly when you catch up with him, he’s got bundles of it still, which is typical of him.”

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