Double injury boost for Newcastle United ahead of return to action against Chelsea
Source: Thenorthernecho

ALEXANDER ISAK and Miguel Almiron should both be available for Newcastle United's weekend meeting with Chelsea, but Eddie Howe faces an anxious wait over Sean Longstaff as he ponders his side to face the Blues.

Isak has been sidelined since suffering a recurrence of a groin injury during last month's Champions League home defeat to Borussia Dortmund, and was forced to withdraw from international duty with Sweden during the current break.

However, the striker has been training at Newcastle's Darsley Park complex in the last few days, and is on track to make a return to action on Saturday afternoon.

With Callum Wilson struggling with a hamstring injury that is set to keep him on the sidelines for around a month, Isak's impending return represents a major positive for Howe, although the head coach will have to keep a close eye on the 24-year-old's game time over the next few weeks in order to guard against yet another recurrence.

Almiron hobbled out of the first half of the 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth that preceded the international break after suffering a hamstring strain of his own.

Like Isak and Wilson,the Paraguayan was withdrawn from international duty and has spent the last week-and-a-half on Tyneside rather than travelling to South America.

A series of scans revealed that Almiron had only sustained limited damage at the Vitality Stadium, and he should be available to line up against Chelsea as Newcastle look to get back to winning ways at the first time of asking this weekend.

Fabian Schar should also be in the side to take on the Blues, provided he does not suffer any issues in Switzerland's final Euros qualifier against Romania this evening.

Schar, who has an extremely busy workload in the first three months of the season, sat out Switzerland's opening game of the current international window against Israel last week.

However, the centre-half was back on the bench for Saturday's draw with Kosovo, albeit as an unused substitute, and is set to return to the Swiss starting side for tonight's game in Bucharest.

Longstaff is more of a worry, having picked up a knock of his own in the defeat to Bournemouth. The midfielder made it through the full 90 minutes on the south coast, but was complaining of discomfort with his ankle in the aftermath of the game.

He has not suffered any serious damage, but is yet to return to full training, hence his status as a potential doubt ahead of the weekend's game. If Longstaff is unable to line up against Chelsea, he should be okay to play in either next week's Champions League game at Paris St Germain or the following weekend's Premier League meeting with Manchester United.

Bruno Guimaraes is available to return against Chelsea after completing a one-match suspension at Bournemouth, but none of Newcastle's other injury victims are expected to be available for Saturday's game.

Harvey Barnes should be ready to return before the end of the year, with Elliot Anderson's recovery from a back injury expected to follow a similar timescale, but uncertainty still shrouds Sven Botman's situation.

The Dutch centre-half has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in September's 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield United, but a series of meetings with specialists has been unable to resolve the issue.

Newcastle's medical staff are hoping to avoid surgery that could potentially mean Botman being sidelined for a number of months, but at this stage, it remains unclear whether the defender will be able to return to action without going under the surgeon's knife.

Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy and Matt Targett are all expected to remain on the sidelines until the start of the new year at the earliest, while Sandro Tonali will miss the rest of the season through suspension after breaching gambling regulations.