The visit of Palace to St James’ Park tomorrow night falls in the middle of another busy week for the Magpies, who play three games in six days before the season pauses for the Qatar World Cup.
The week started positively for Howe & Co with a 4-1 victory at Southampton on Sunday - three points that moved United up to third in the Premier League table and extended their unbeaten run to nine matches.
Newcastle had a few concerns after the game, namely Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier. Wilson was unwell and did not emerge for the second half at St Mary’s, while Trippier took a knock to the hamstring.
Howe, speaking to the media earlier today, provided a positive update. Wilson, he said, is OK but is feeling a little run-down and there are “no problems” with Trippier.
Trippier trained ahead of the Palace encounter but it appears Newcastle are taking extra care of Wilson with the 30-year-old not spotted in the latest training gallery released by the club’s media team.
Indeed, it won’t be a surprise to see Chris Wood start ahead of Wilson at St James’ Park tomorrow night. Howe hinted at changes to his starting XI and the New Zealander scored in the previous round at Tranmere Rovers and during the victory over Southampton.
Howe said on Wood: “It’s really important for attacking players to try and score and contribute and Chris did that really well on Sunday playing in a game that wasn’t necessarily going to be a dominant team performance. We weren’t in that moment in the game, it was a really tight game.
“The goal he scored, the finish shouldn’t be underestimated, he received the ball with his back to goal, a quick turn and a brilliant finish into the corner. Our goals were the highlight of our performance on Sunday and I think that second goal was the big one.”
Man of the moment Miguel Almiron, who has scored seven goals in seven games, also wasn’t spotted in the gallery, although there is nothing to suggest the Paraguayan has picked up an injury after playing the full 90 minutes on the South Coast.
Nick Pope and Karl Darlow were photographed but Loris Karius wasn’t. The former Liverpool goalkeeper did not feature in the matchday squad at the weekend with Darlow back on the bench for the first time since injuring his ankle in training.
Meanwhile, Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie and Alexander Isak remain absent due to their respective injuries. Neither of the trio will return in time for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea.