Newcastle United star ruled out for three months 'knocking on the door' to return v Bournemouth & Arsenal

Newcastle United issue Joe Willock update with the former Arsenal midfielder closing in on a return from injury.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe says Joe Willock is 'knocking on the door' for a return from injury.

The 24-year-old has been limited to just six appearances this campaign having missed the start with an Achilles injury before suffering a recurrence of the same issue in November.

Willock's last appearance was against AFC Bournemouth just over three months but is "close" to a comeback ahead of facing Cherries on Saturday before making the visit to Arsenal a week later.

“He’s another one like Alex [Isak]," said Howe. "He’s knocking on the door, very, very close and looking good, feeling much better. Another huge player for us that we’re desperate to get back. He’s close.”

Howe also hopes to have Alexander Isak back, either tomorrow or against the Gunners. The Swede has missed the last two matches with a recurring groin issue.

Asked when Isak will return, Howe said: “Probably not for the weekend. He’s very, very, very close and is looking really good. I’m really pleased with the progress he’s made. I think mentally you can see he feels free and good, so let’s wait and see."

The Magpies, as it stands, are without a recognised senior striker after it was confirmed Callum Wilson has undergone surgery on his pectoral issue. The 31-year-old will be out for months.

"There was a period, of course, when you get the news that even Callum and anyone will feel some sadness, despair - probably all sorts of emotions," said Howe. "But I think the true test then is how quickly you can refocus on thinking 'right this is what I've got to do because I can't change it'.

"And I think that's what he is very good at is turning that around quite quickly to then refocus and switch his goals. He's still got goals. I've a chat with him and very quickly he's gone 'right this is what I want to try and achieve before the end of the season'.

"It's very easy to wallow in that moment but he's not thinking that way. I've never written off anything regarding Callum because I've seen him come back and achieve so many great things. It's such a difficult injury, how can you predict that is going to happen at that moment. I really feel for him."

Here's Newcastle United's absentee list in full and when each player could return.

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