Premier League. Saint-Maximin and Fraser can provide our 'ammunition', says Bruce

25 Jan 21

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce hopes having Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser back in action will help provide the ‘ammunition’ his side needs as they get set to face Leeds United on Tuesday evening.

The Magpies welcome Marcelo Bielsa’s side to St. James’ Park (6pm kick-off) hoping for a first victory of 2021 against a team who beat them at Elland Road just over a month ago.

And after fielding the fit-again pair during the second half of Saturday’s reverse at Aston Villa, Bruce wants the duo – who were back after illness and suspension respectively – to help fire his team up the Premier League table, now they are finally able to both play a part for United.

“It’s the first time, for 20 minutes the other night, we’ve had Ryan Fraser and Allan on the pitch, for one reason or another,” he said.

“The reason why we’ve took them at the top end is we know what a difference Allan can make to us with that creativity.

“And certainly Ryan, when he’s well, when he’s fit, he’s proved that he’s capable too. Let’s hope they both stay well because if they do, then I’m quietly convinced that they’ll provide enough ammunition that we need to score, which is always the most difficult thing in the Premier League.”

Head coach Bruce says he will again be without the services of Federico Fernández, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett for the midweek clash, with the defensive trio still not fit enough to take part after they also missed the weekend loss at Villa Park.

“Over this period, we’ve had illness, more importantly than anything, and injuries. Even tomorrow, we’ve got three centre backs out. It’s not just a defender, a midfielder and a forward player – all our injuries tomorrow are in a certain position,” he said.

“We’ve been a bit unfortunate in that respect, but as I said I never look for excuses like that because it’s part and parcel of it. But certainly, we’ve missed Allan in particular because he does give us the goal threat which unfortunately we’ve been missing.”

Bielsa and his charges have adapted well to life in the top flight since their promotion from the Championship last summer, and currently sit 12th in the division.

Since their win over United at Elland Road before Christmas they have lost more games than they have won, though, and Bruce wants his side to try and lift themselves from their recent slump in form and get back to winning ways against a side who were beaten by Brighton last time out.

“There’s no disputing that we’re on a difficult run. The quicker you get a result, the better,” said Bruce.

“As I’ve said many times, we’re not alone in the Premier League, that’s what a difficult league it is. All you can do is prepare as best you can, try and ignore the noise, and focus on the match which is now another opportunity, and get ready for the challenge of Leeds tomorrow night.

“You’ve got to find a little bit. We need to go and get a result. Yes, I’ve seen little bits – we got into some good areas the other night and crossed it. But confidence is a little bit low, of course, but the only way you can do it is to go back on the training ground like we will again today, prepare as best we can and get ready for Leeds and turn it around.”

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