Newcastle United player doubtful for Leeds United clash

Newcastle United take on Leeds United in the Premier League today - and Eddie Howe could be without this player.
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Matt Ritchie is an injury doubt ahead of Newcastle United’s trip to Leeds United this afternoon.

The 32-year-old missed the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 27 but returned to the matchday squad last weekend against Watford.

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Although Ritchie only watched on from the bench, it is understood the former Bournemouth man felt his knee in training this week.

Eddie Howe revealed on Friday morning Ritchie was touch-and-go as his side prepared for the visit to Elland Road.

He said: “Matt Ritchie’s got a knee problem, we’ll have to assess how he is.”

Meanwhile, Dwight Gayle and Jeff Hendrick have returned to training.

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Gayle was absent from the FA Cup third round exit to Cambridge United - where he would have started if available - and Watford, as was Hendrick.

“We’ve had a couple of players return to the training ground.

“Dwight Gayle, we’ve had back in training this week, and Jeff Hendrick’s returned to training this week.”

Jamal Lewis is back in contention, while Javier Manquillo is available after serving a one-match suspension.

Which Newcastle players are still missing?

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The big absence, of course, is top scorer Callum Wilson, who is sidelined with a calf problem.

The prognosis on the 29-year-old was eight weeks, which suggests Wilson won’t return until mid-March at the earliest.

Federico Fernandez is continuing his recovery. Isaac Hayden, meanwhile, is a longer-term injury after surgery on his knee.

Ciaran Clark hasn’t featured in the matchday squad since starting in the 4-0 defeat to Manchester City.

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