Press Conference Confidential: Steve Bruce provides Newcastle United updates on Wilson, Dubravka & his future

Steve Bruce fielded questions from the Newcastle United press pack this morning ahead of the Magpies’ Premier League clash with Leeds United tomorrow night at St James’ Park.

What’s the injury latest at Newcastle United?

Everybody at the weekend has come through. We had one or two knocks at the end but thankfully everyone has come through OK. That’s good.

Unfortunately it is a bit too quick for Callum (Wilson), too quick for Jonjo (Shelvey) and Paul Dummett.

Ryan Fraser has trained all week, so he is OK. That’s about it.

Everybody is OK.

Callum Wilson of Newcastle United battles for possession with Mohammed Salisu of Southampton during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on August 28, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Can you put a timeframe on Callum Wilson - and can you cope without him?

We are not going to put a time on it. He is making good progress but unfortunately not this week.

I think at the moment there is only five or six teams who have scored more goals than us.

Our work all this week is on the defensive side. We have to get that balance right.

Certainly last week we showed we are a threat going forward, we are capable of scoring a goal.

The one area we have to improve on, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work it out, is we concede too many. It is important to improve. The lads have worked tirelessly on that this week and will do until we improve.

Have you made a decision on whether to recall Karl Darlow?

Of course, I have to speak to the players involved every week. Arguably this is the hardest part of management.

There is a big call and it’s my job to make them. And I will.

I have got to make that decision - and I will 24 hours before. It is important the players know before the media.

How close is Martin Dubravka to a return?

He’s coming along nicely. Thankfully, the wound that was badly infected has gone.

He’s hoping he’ll be back on the grass next week, so that’s a bit of good news.

Slovakia’s goalkeeper Martin Dubravka dives to save a goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group E football match between Slovakia and Spain at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville on June 23, 2021.

Paul Dummett - how close is he?

He’s had a setback.

Just when we thought he was close - and he was back training - he’s uncomfortable again. It’s the same injury.

How difficult was it hearing the fan chants and criticism last week?

It is always difficult. I would be sick if I said I quite enjoyed it.

If you don’t get results, the head coach bears the brunt.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11, 2021 in Manchester, England.

Have you had conversations with the club about your future?

No, it’s not all about me. I’m here to do what I think is best for the club, which is to manage it best I can and keep moving us along. That’s for other people to answer that.

I’ll continue to do my best and I’ll never walk away from the challenge of it, that’s for sure. You’re asking the wrong person.

Do you ever think ‘I don’t need this hassle’?

My family think I’m a bit sick because I never really think about those things when you are up against it. I think about them when it’s going well.

Look, it’s a challenge at the minute. I have said since I walked through the door I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But I hope I can get us ticking along, we can stay where they club is, maintain our Premier League status - and that’s where we are at the moment and that’s the frustration. I want Newcastle to be top of the league.

I don’t ever think about the noise being too bad and walking away. That’s not in my nature.

Will you walk away if the criticism starts to have a detrimental impact on the team?

To the detriment of the team? Then you start looking at yourself.

It is not in my nature to walk away when you have a battle ahead, whatever it is.

Walking away doesn’t really register with me.

Struggling to find a back three or will you consider a change in formation?

You can do one of two things - change personnel or formation. I am not blaming the back three, you defend as a team and attack as a team.

We have been trying to seek the balance of being a threat, we have often be labelled too defensive. It is about getting it right in continuing to be a threat and defend better as a team.