Saint-Maximin could return against Spurs, says Bruce
Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce says Allan Saint-Maximin could return to the Magpies' squad for Sunday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur (2:05pm kick-off).
The French winger has been missing through injury since the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in February, and is one of a handful of United players – including Callum Wilson – who have used the recent international break to work towards full fitness.
And with Newcastle back in Premier League action this weekend, head coach Bruce says the former Nice man could be back in action against José Mourinho’s side – but the game at St. James’ Park could have come just too soon for leading goalscorer Wilson.
“He could be (involved), yeah,” Bruce said of Saint-Maximin.
“We’ve still got two days to train, today and tomorrow, but he came through a big training session 48 hours ago, so we hope he’s a bit more advanced than Callum is. We hope he can play some part.”
On the prospect of England frontman Wilson making his comeback, he added: “I wouldn’t have thought so, no.”
United will be without the services of Isaac Hayden, who is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained in last month’s defeat at Brighton, but goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka – who became a father this week – is fit again after suffering with illness while on international duty.
And the Magpies will hope that winger Ryan Fraser, who netted twice for Scotland during the last fortnight, will be able to translate his form for his country into excellence for Newcastle as Bruce’s men ready themselves for the run-in.
“It’s good for him – it’s been a constant fight to get Ryan up to speed,” he said. “I’m delighted for him, I’m delighted that he’s got a couple of goals under his belt, and that can only give him a bit of confidence.”
Spurs, meanwhile, beat Aston Villa 2-0 last time out and Bruce is wary of the sixth-placed side, asserting his belief that they are still one of the “big teams” under the stewardship of decorated former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss Mourinho.
“When you play against José’s team, you know that first and foremost we’re going to have to play well. They had a decent result last time out,” he said.
“For me, (with) José, the criticism that he receives is, in my opinion, ridiculous. Here is one of the greats. Over the last 20 years, what he’s done and what he’s done in the Premier League is there for everybody to see.
“They’ve got quality players in big areas of the pitch so, like always against the big teams, we’ll have to play well.”