Newcastle United could be dealt fresh striker blow after deadline day frustration

Chris Wood is currently on international duty with New Zealand, who have confirmed “a number of” positive Covid-19 cases in their camp.

Newcastle United are awaiting an update on Chris Wood following a Covid-19 outbreak in the New Zealand’s national team.

The 30-year-old, a £25million January signing from Burnley, linked with the All Blacks last week and scored in a 3-1 defeat to Jordan on Friday.

Wood was due to be back in action tonight against Uzbekistan, however the friendly has been cancelled due to a number of positive Covid-19 cases.

It is unclear if the former Leeds United striker is among those to have tested positive amid fears the outbreak could somehow delay Wood’s return to Tyneside.

A statement by New Zealand confirmed Wood and his national teammates are fully vaccinated. Those who returned a positive result are currently self-isolation in Dubai

What New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said

New Zealand Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said: “It is fair to say the team and staff are gutted to have to cancel the game but in a situation like this player and staff welfare is the absolute priority.

“We cannot create further exposure events for the team and staff and be responsible for a possible outbreak in the Uzbekistan team as well. “We will now be working with the team in Dubai to undertake further testing of the squad before they depart as well as supporting the players who have tested positive while they recover. “Unfortunately, this is a risk international sport is currently faced with and hugely disappointing for all involved.”

How Chris Wood’s potential absence will impact Newcastle

If Wood were to become unavailable for a period of time, it would leave Dwight Gayle as the club’s only recognised striker after a deadline day move for Reims starlet Hugo Ekitike failed to materialise.

Top scorer Callum Wilson remains sidelined with a calf injury and isn’t likely to return until March at the earliest.

Newcastle return to Premier League next Tuesday (February 8) when Frank Lampard’s Everton are the visitors to St James’ Park.

Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, plus deadline day signings Matt Targett and Dan Burn, could make their debuts against the Toffees.