Newcastle United hit with illness concern ahead of AC Milan Champions League clash

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Newcastle United hit with illness concern ahead of AC Milan Champions League clash.

Newcastle United will make a late check on Martin Dubravka's fitness ahead of tonight's Champions League clash at home to AC Milan (kick-off 8pm).

The Slovakian was among three players absent from training on Tuesday morning as the TV cameras captured a small part of the session. Anthony Gordon and Sean Longstaff were the others.

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Dubravka has started back-to-back defeats away to Everton and Tottenham Hotspur after Nick Pope was ruled out for four months with a dislocated shoulder - but is a doubt to face Milan at St James' Park this evening.

Martin Dubravka is standing in for Nick Pope (Image: Getty Images)Martin Dubravka is standing in for Nick Pope (Image: Getty Images)
Martin Dubravka is standing in for Nick Pope (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

According to the Daily Mail's Craig Hope, the 33-year-old has been struggling with illness, meaning United will make a late decision on his availability.

When asked directly at Tuesday's press conference if Dubravka is fit, Howe replied "That is slightly unclear."

That means Loris Karius is on standby, although Howe admitted it isn't a position he necessarily wants to rotate.

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"It's not a position I want to rotate to be honest," Howe said. "The team benefits from having a settled goalkeeper and back four, that's always been my way of working with my defensive structure. But let's see what tomorrow brings."

The German goalkeeper's only previous appearance for Newcastle was the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United in August. Karius' last outing in the Champions League was the infamous final in 2018.

Newcastle must beat AC Milan this evening and hope Paris Saint-Germain fail to do the same against Borussia Dortmund in Germany to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

A draw against Milan would see the Magpies drop into the Europa League, while a defeat would see them exit Europe altogether.

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