'He will give everybody a huge lift' - Newcastle United receive massive boost ahead of Leeds United clash
NEWCASTLE United's star man Allan Saint-Maximin is back in the Magpies match-day squad following a nine-week absence ahead of Tuesday's clash against Leeds United.
French winger Maximin has not featured for out-of-sorts Newcastle since the club's 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea on November 21.
Maximin then picked up a hamstring injury in training before the club's subsequent hosting of Crystal Palace and the winger then tested positive for coronavirus.
The Magpies were forced to close their training ground and saw their December 3 clash against Aston Villa postponed and Maximin then suffered long-term effects of Covid-19.
But the 23-year-old returned to light training last week before full training this week and boss Steve Bruce says the winger will now "play some part" in Saturday night's Premier League clash at Villa.
The Magpies will then provide United's next opponents in Tuesday evening's Premier League clash at St James' Park.
Speaking at Friday's pre-Villa press conference, Bruce said as quoted by Chronicle Live: "The good news for everybody is Saint-Maximin is in the squad.
"He's came through and done well.
"There's no doubt that will give everybody a huge lift especially in the forward area.
"It's good that he's back. We hope that he will play some part.
"He's a player that gives us a lot of flair.
"He gives you that pace and we have missed him in terms of creativity."
Newcastle have now gone nine games without a victory in league and cup, with five of their last seven Premier League games ending in defeat.
That run started with the 5-2 loss at Leeds on December 16.
Newcastle have scored just twice since their hammering at Elland Road and both goals have come from set pieces via a Callum Wilson penalty in December's 1-1 draw at home to Fulham and an Andy Carroll header from a free-kick in January's 2-1 loss at home to Leicester City.
It means the Magpies have gone over 13 hours (784 minutes) without scoring a goal in open play since Jeff Hendrick's strike at Leeds.
Bruce added: "If Liverpool, the champions, can't score for six hours then it shows how tough this league is. We're going through a bad run.
"We've made so many changes, too many changes, which has been levelled at us. But we've had some serious problems with injury and illness."
Bruce also hopes that Fab Schar will be fit to face Villa but Ciaran Clark (calf) and Federico Fernandez are doubts.
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Thank you Laura Collins