April 24, 2024

Eddie Howe has been addressing to the press in recent moments, lamenting Saturday’s setback at Arsenal and providing a Monday morning update on fitness.

Following criticism over the weekend, he confessed that Sven Botman is still working his way back to full fitness after having a’very bad knee injury’ a few months ago. Howe believes the Dutchman is not playing with an injury, but the club is keeping an eye on the situation.

Elsewhere, Howe is unclear whether Martin Dubravka (sick) will recover in time for tomorrow’s trip to Blackburn, believes Joe Willock is’very close to starting’ after his cameo at Arsenal, and believes Alexander Isak is in a much stronger position after coming through 60 minutes at the Emirates.

Despite returning to the gym, Nick Pope is still a ‘few of weeks away’, but Elliot Anderson and Matt Targett are also ‘near’ to comebacks after surviving long-term injuries.

Here’s what Howes had to say about all of this just moments ago:

Howe on Botman: “Sven suffered a severe knee injury. He’s regained fitness, and I believe he’s improved with each game, but he’s still working his way back to his peak performance. We’re keeping an eye on his knee issue and hoping he won’t feel it and can adapt to Premier League play.

“No (there is no fear that he has not recovered from the injury); to play Premier League football, you must be in peak physical condition; you cannot get away with it otherwise. Hopefully, during the following two weeks, he will be back to his peak performance.


In Focus: Sven Botman is key to Newcastle's defensive success | LiveScore

“I don’t think he feels his knee. I think he is OK. You can’t play Premier League football unless you’re 100 percent, which no player is, but he’s feeling okay. It will only take him a short time to return to his previous heights.

“The focus should not be on Sven, but on the team. There was not one person who let us down. I’d say we all, myself included, weren’t at our best against Arsenal, and doing so against the greatest gets you punished.”

Howe on Dubravka and Karius: “We hope he (Dubravka) has recovered from his sickness and is available for selection, but we don’t know at the moment.

“In a really difficult performance for the squad, I believe Loris [Karius] did well. He made a couple of solid saves and controlled his box really well, so I believe he’ll be pleased considering he hasn’t played in a year.

Howe on Willock and Isak: “I’m delighted with Joe’s return; he looked very good when he came on.” He scored a typical Joe Willock goal, which was pleasing to witness.
“I’ll probably have to address this with the medical team. He has done a lot of work and is almost ready to start. “That’ll be a judgment call.”

“Alex got 60 good minutes into his legs and that will do him the world of good.”

Howe on Nick Pope: “There is no immediate update, but he is not on the verge of returning.” He’s working his way back and remains mostly a gymgoer. He has had a couple of sessions outside, but they are extremely gentle at this point. I still think he’s a few weeks away.”
Howe on Targett and Anderson: “They are getting there. It has been a lengthy journey for both of them. Matt’s injury was straightforward: a severe hamstring tear that required surgery.

“Elliot had a very difficult injury because he felt well, but the scan revealed a stress fracture in his back, so he had to rest it a lot. He worked incredibly hard and felt great. Both are about to return.”

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