What’s the latest?
New Zealand international Chris Wood may be in contention to return to the squad, as he has made his injury comeback at Darsley Park this week.
The striker missed out on the matchday squad as the Magpies beat Arsenal 2-0 at St. James’ Park earlier this week, but he could now be fit to face his former side.
Newcastle World reporter Jordan Cronin tweeted on Friday: “#NUFC INJURY NEWS Chris Wood will train today ahead of Burnley. United are following concussion protocols re Fabian Schar, so a late decision will be made. Ryan Fraser felt his hamstring again versus Arsenal and is unlikely to feature.”
Eddie Howe will be delighted
This update will surely leave the Toon head coach delighted, as Wood is a strong option for him to be able to use off the bench, particularly given Callum Wilson’s condition.
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The ex-Bournemouth attacker has only played two matches since December and may not be able to handle another full 90 minutes in this game. Howe will not want to overwork the 30-year-old and send him into the summer with a fresh injury setback, which is why having another decent player to call upon in that position will be a big boost.
Dwight Gayle came off the bench against Arsenal but he has endured a horrific time on Tyneside in the last two years. He has zero goals or assists in eight Premier League appearances this term and managed only one goal and one assist in 18 outings in 2020/21.
The ex-Crystal Palace forward is just not good enough to lead the line for Newcastle, and that is why having Wood available is a big boost. Whilst he has only scored five goals in 33 games for the Toon and Burnley combined this season, he has won a whopping 6.2 aerial battles and created 0.6 chances per game while showcasing his strength in the air.
Meanwhile, Gayle won 0.6 aerial battles per game last term and 0.1 per match in the current campaign. This shows that, whilst neither of them has been prolific, Wood offers more at the top end of the pitch as he can be a focal point for the team. He has the quality and strength to be an outlet for his team-mates to use when they are under pressure.
This is why Howe will be buzzing to have him available this afternoon, as the New Zealander has the potential to play an important role, whether that is from the start or off the bench.