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'A big blow to him' - Howe issues injury update ahead of Cherries clash

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe revealed Callum Wilson will require an operation on his pectoral muscle ahead of the Magpies' Premier League visit of AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm GMT).

Howe welcomes his former side to Tyneside aiming to extend United's unbeaten run to five matches across all competitions but will be without the services of ex-Cherries forward Wilson, who was left in discomfort during the final minutes of the Magpies' 3-2 win away at Nottingham Forest last weekend.

The Newcastle boss, who guided Bournemouth from the depths of League Two to the Premier League within the space of seven years as manager, targets a first home win of 2024 and provided an update on some of the longer-term injury issues, including Joe Willock and Matt Targett.

Bournemouth came out on top against the Magpies in a 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium during the first half of the 2023/24 campaign but Howe will be keen to exact revenge on Andoni Iraola's side and move within two points of the top six spots.

Here are some of the main talking points from the boss during his pre-match media briefing at the club's Benton training centre on Friday morning:

On Callum Wilson, who suffered a pectoral injury in the latter stages of last weekend's 3-2 win against Nottingham Forest:

"It was a really strange injury, getting in a tussle with the centre-back right at the end of the game. Initially, from my view, I thought he'd hurt his shoulder but it was a muscle in his pec so we had it scanned.

"We hoped he could carry on and he felt good. He was moving his arm at full strength but when he went to see a specialist, it was apparent quite early on that he needed it operated on and he's having that as we speak.

“It's no doubt a big blow to him because I think he's looking at various things. His first priority has always been Newcastle and he feels it has been a stop start season for him. He takes that burden of being one of our two strikers very seriously and he's desperate to do well and score goals.

"He was very disappointed in that perspective and he had England on the horizon as well so we hope he'll be back before the end of the season."

On further injury updates, including Alexander Isak and Joe Willock:

"Alex is probably not ready for the weekend, but he is very close and looking really good. I am really pleased with his progress.

"Like Alex, Joe is very close too, he is knocking on the door and looking good and feeling much better. He is another huge player for us that we are desperate to get back.

"Matt Targett's in a very similar position to Elliot Anderson, working very closely together and they're due to be training very soon, hopefully within the next ten days."

On Emil Krafth, who signed a one-year contract extension on Wednesday, keeping the Swedish defender at St. James' Park until the summer of 2025:

"He's very dependable and a really good trainer and player. (He's) very reliable and I can't speak highly enough of him in the sense of how he handled his injury.

"He was in good form and had a powerful end to the (2021/22) season when we were trying to avoid relegation and performed really well towards the end of that campaign. He then got the (anterior cruciate ligament) injury and worked his way back throughout pre-season and has looked as good as new.

"That's not easy to do after the injury he had so he fully deserves his contract and he's got a big part to play in our future."

On Bruno Guimarães, who netted a brace in the Magpies' 3-2 win against Forest at the City Ground:

"I think he is (world class) and I don't say that lightly because it's easy to say. You have to believe what you're saying and I do. 

"He's got unbelievable qualities that we see on a daily basis. He's versatile and, fundamentally, got a unbelievable attitude to life and to the game of football.

"His passion for the game is clear to see when he's playing, especially at his best, and he can produce moments of absolute magic which he did against Nottingham Forest to help us win the game.

"There's such a healthy relationship between the supporters and Bruno. He wears his heart on his sleeve and you're not guessing how Bruno's feeling when you're watching him play and supporters can really identify with his passion for football and Newcastle so I think it's a really good mix."

On the upcoming test of AFC Bournemouth, who claimed a 2-0 win against the Magpies during the reverse fixture in November:

"His (Andoni Iraola) methods are really strong, really visible with how they play, and I think we felt that in the away game against us.

"Since that win, I think they've had some really good results, culminating in beating Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford which was a really strong performance. 

"They have some direct threats. We're going to have to be aware of them and have to play a lot better than we did against them in the last game but I anticipate that we will and we can." 


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Eddie Howe's pre-Bournemouth media briefing in full

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