Two Newcastle staff ‘poorly’ with Covid-19 and ‘big chunk’ of players still missing

Two Newcastle staff ‘poorly’ with Covid-19 and ‘big chunk’ of players still missing

Steve Bruce has revealed two members of Newcastle’s non-playing staff are “poorly” after contracting coronavirus last week.

Bruce would not reveal the identities of those affected by the virus which swept through the club’s training ground, but said he would be missing “a big chunk” of players for the Premier League game at home against West Brom on Saturday.

“We’ve got far more [players] than what we thought we would have last Monday,” the manager said. “We’ve got two or three who have had it and come back into the squad, and we didn’t think they would come back so quickly.

“We’ve got enough to pick a team and see how we go. It was a significant number of people in a tight-knit group and we will be without a big chunk of players tomorrow.”

Although the majority of players are understood to have been asymptomatic, Bruce revealed concerns over two members of non-playing staff. “I’ve got two members of staff who are poorly and sick with it. [They] are not very well at all, and it really hits home when someone you work with every day of your life, and who works with the players, are finding it tough.”

Preparations for the game have been hampered, with the training ground closed for 10 days in total before its reopening on Wednesday, but Bruce said it had not crossed his mind to seek a second postponement after the game at Aston Villa was called off.

“We’ve done everything we possibly can to get the game on and make sure we don’t fall foul of a fixture pile-up, because we’ve got a huge month coming up,” Bruce said. “Don’t get me wrong, I would love a fit, strong, healthy squad but we have enough to make sure that we will be competitive in the game. We won’t use it as an excuse.”