‘Fingers crossed’ - Eddie Howe provides Newcastle United injury update on key duo

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Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe provided injury update on the pair.

Eddie Howe provided an injury update on two of his Newcastle United players after the 4-1 win at Everton.

The Magpies strengthened their Champions League qualification bid after a Callum Wilson brace and goals from Joelinton and Jacob Murphy opened up an eight-point lead over fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

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Wilson opened the scoring in the 28th minute at Goodison Park before Joelinton added a second inside the remaining quarter of an hour. Wilson netted a third while a consolation goal by Dwight McNeil was quickly cancelled out by Murphy.

After the game, Howe was asked about Joelinton and Sean Longstaff, who looked to be in some discomfort at different points across the evening.

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On Joelinton, Howe said: “I’d say he definitely moved better in the second half. He had a little bit of tiredness in one of his hamstring pre-game but he ensured me he was fine and played really well in the second-half. Fingers crossed he’s OK.”

Midway through the second-half, Longstaff looked set to depart for Murphy before the latter was signalled to sit back down by Howe.

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The 45-year-old explained: “I couldn’t work out if he said he needed to come off or wanted to stay on! In the end, he [Longstaff] said he needed to come off so fingers crossed it’s not too bad.”

Howe was forced to take Dan Burn, who had started the last 25 Premier League games, out of starting XI due to illness. Meanwhile, Wilson and Miguel Almiron were selected ahead of Isak and Murphy.

“It’s always difficult. You’ve got decisions to make, I’ve got to look at the balance of the team and make decisions, not just for this game but games ahead,” said Howe. There’s a plan behind my thinking.

“Dan Burn was a slightly different situation, he wasn’t feeling too good in the build-up but Matt Targett did really well. It shows the strength of the squad, it’s good to see players taking their opportunities.”

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Although Newcastle are closing in a top four finish, Howe is still refusing to talk about the potential of European football.

“It puts us in a lot stronger position,” said Howe. “We knew the difficulty of the previous two games, Tottenham and Everton is two tough games at any stage of the season, so to get six points is a great return.

“We have another game this week, which is equally as difficult in a slightly different way. Quick turnaround, we need to rest and go again.

“I’d say that’s a waste of time with your calculators! But if you want to do it, that’s fine. For us, it’s onto the next game. We want to get as many points as possible and see where we are at the end of the season.”

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