Steve Bruce hopes for reinforcements for the game against Sheffield United


Newcastle coach Steve Bruce hopes some players will be available for Tuesday’s trip to Sheffield United but urges caution with captain Jamaal Lascelles.

The Magpies captain made his first appearance since November 21, when he was in the starting eleven for last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Lascelles had not played for six weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus and struggling to regain fitness following his battle with the virus.

While the center-back started at the Emirates on Saturday, he had to be substituted at halftime and may not be ready to play against the Blades, who are bottom of the table and have yet to win in the Premier League this season.

“We’re hoping to get some bodies back,” Bruce said.

“We’ll have to wait and see how Jamaal is and that’s what we’re all in the dark about. It’s not a groin strain or hamstring, it’s the aftermath of what he’s had.

“We waited to see to what extent he could continue, and to be fair you could see he was off his feet at half-time. We’ve brought in some freshness and it will be good that he’s got 45 minutes under his belt.”

Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey were absent on a precautionary measure, while defenders Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez stayed at home as Newcastle named only seven substitutes for the third-round match.

One of them was 18-year-old Elliot Anderson, who made a good impression from the bench and almost helped the Magpies score the winning goal in the closing stages, but his deflected shot into the path of Andy Carroll could not be converted.

Bruce added: “As soon as Elliot gets on the pitch he takes the ball and receives it and has that beautiful look where he never seems rushed.

“Everything is effortless and easy for him. We hope he has a great future. He’ll remember his debut – he could have scored in the last minute and what a wonderful debut that would have been.

“I’m very pleased with his progress and we hope he can do us good for the rest of the season.”

Martin Dubravka put in an impressive performance for Newcastle in the capital in his first appearance since recovering from a heel injury.

Karl Darlow deputized well for the Slovakian, but Bruce admitted he still has some thinking to do ahead of the game at Bramall Lane.

“I’m very happy with the goalkeeping situation,” he said.

“We have two good goalkeepers, Martin has shown again what a good goalkeeper he is and Karl has been very, very good all season. I’ve got one of those terrible ones where we hope I pick the right one.”

The pressure on Bruce’s counterpart Chris Wilder eased on Saturday after Sheffield United picked up their first win of the season at the 19th attempt.

However, it was only against a third-tier opponent, Bristol Rovers, and the Blades are aware they are already bottom of the table with just two points from 17 league games.

“When you play in the Premier League, you’re under pressure no matter who you are,” Bruce pointed out.

“They’re a very decent team, they’ve had a terrible run and there’s no denying that, but they’ve still got the same players that got them to sixth place this time last year or wherever they were.

“It can be the Premier League, but if we play like we did last week, we have an excellent chance.”


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