News. Bruce hoping squad will be boosted for Blades trip

11 Jan 21

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce says he is hoping to be able to welcome back some of his first team players for Tuesday night’s Premier League game at Sheffield United.

The Magpies head to Bramall Lane hoping to earn another win over a side they beat twice last term, and if they are able to do so it would help them recover from their weekend FA Cup third round exit at the hands of Arsenal.

United were without the services of a handful of their squad for that defeat at the Emirates Stadium, but Bruce is hopeful that he will be able to bring them back into the fold for the game against the Blades, who currently sit bottom of the table.

“The key to it is recovery of course – this is what the Premier League is. They come thick and fast and we go Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Monday. It’s very, very difficult but we’ll do the best we can to recover and hopefully we’ll have some fit bodies back,” he said. “We’re getting there with the problems we’ve had, so hopefully we’ll have a certain freshness about us to go and be positive and get a result.

“We hope that we’ve got a few bodies back. We’ve had a few that had big problems with it, Jamaal (Lascelles) being one – it was good to see him get 45 minutes (at Arsenal). We’ve got Fab Schär hopefully, and Karl Darlow back at home and Fede Fernández back at home, so we hope by Tuesday we’ll have a few bodies to us that certain freshness.”

Bruce added: “We hope that we’ve got a few at home who can get back and we hope Ryan Fraser and Fab Schär and Fede and people like that can be available. We’re getting over the problems that we’ve had and that can only help us. We purposefully left a few at home with that in mind on Tuesday night.”

One position Bruce isn’t too concerned about is in goal, with Martin Dúbravka – who started his first game of the campaign against the Gunners after recovering from an ankle problem – now fit again to challenge the in-form Darlow for the number one spot.

“I’m delighted with the goalkeeping situation we’ve got,” said Bruce. “We’ve got two quality goalkeepers.

“Martin again has reminded us of what a good goalkeeper he is, and Karl has been very very good all season. I’ve got one of those awful (decisions to make), so lets hope I pick the right one.”

Chris Wilder’s Blades had a fine 2019/20 season after their promotion from the Championship but have struggled this term, and are yet to win a league game.

They will be at the foot of the table when they welcome Newcastle on Tuesday but Bruce, who started his managerial career at Bramall Lane, has warned that his side’s midweek opponents are more than capable of springing a surprise.

“I think it proves that it’s very, very difficult, the Premier League, year-in, year-out. Last year they took it by storm – this time last year, in terms of Christmas time, I think they were in the top six,” he said.

“The same players are there too, and they’ve had a tough run, but that’s the Premier League. It’s a very, very difficult league with good teams in it. Sheffield United, although they prop up the table, are a very good side still, and we’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”

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