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Wilson could feature against Blues, says Bruce

Written by Rory Mitchinson

Steve Bruce has revealed that Newcastle United’s leading goalscorer Callum Wilson could be straight back in contention for Saturday’s Premier League visit of Chelsea.

Wilson has already struck six times for the Magpies since his summer arrival from Bournemouth but hobbled out of their last game, at Southampton a fortnight ago, with a hamstring injury.

Though fellow recent recruit Ryan Fraser will sit out Saturday’s clash at St. James’ Park, Wilson’s swift recovery means he may yet lead the line against the Blues. And, on the back of a demanding international break and with the busiest period of the domestic campaign just around the corner, head coach Bruce has been handed a further boost with the news that Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are both closing in on a return to first-team action.

“Ryan won’t make it, unfortunately, but Callum has got a chance to,” Bruce said. “Obviously we’re going to make sure that if there’s any risk whatsoever, he won’t play. But he has trained the last two days. It was very comfortable yesterday. We’ll see how he is today, but the boy wants to play. We have to make sure he’s 100 per cent, because the big problem for us all is the injuries – thankfully we’re getting a few back, but it’s been a concern for all of us managers.

“It might be a little bit early for Jonjo, but he’s trained two or three days. Matt Ritchie is another one who’s trained two or three days. That’s good news for us all, that they’re in and around the group again.

“There was a league managers’ meeting a couple of days ago, and when you’re looking at the fixture congestion and the amount of games the players are asked to play, then of course you’re going to pick up injuries. And when you’re playing (when you’re) that little bit fatigued, then of course you run the risk of even more (injuries). A football player can train every day, but you can’t play with the same intensity, and the Premier League certainly demands a certain intensity. It’s something we’re all scratching our heads at, because obviously we didn’t have a pre-season. We’re in difficult times, but we have a few back – which is good.”

The Magpies come up against a Chelsea side in sparkling form. The Blues have won their last four games in all competitions, netting 14 times and conceding just once. They invested heavily over the summer, splashing out more than £200 million on the likes of German pair Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and Leicester left back Ben Chilwell.

“They bought exceptionally good players, at the end of the day, and that makes life a little bit easier if you’re a manager,” said Bruce. “Of course you have to find the right blend and the right balance, and they certainly seem to have got that over the last few weeks – they’ve conceded only one in their last six games. They’re a very, very good side and I believe personally that they will be there or thereabouts with the changes they’ve made.”

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