Newcastle are heading into two of their biggest games of the season.
While meetings with Wolves and Nottingham Forest hardly whet the appetite as much as the Carabao Cup final clash with Manchester United, Eddie Howe’s side are under pressure to relaunch their top four bid.
Losses to United, Liverpool and Manchester City hardly offer much cause for crisis but they do tighten the margin for error.
Frankly, the Magpies need to win. With all due respect to both the Old Gold and the Tricky Trees, anything other than six points would prove hugely disappointing and potentially fatal to any hopes of Champions League qualification.
Newcastle handed key injury boost
So then, it’s promising to hear that a certain Bruno Guimaraes is fully fit.
The Brazilian was forced off during the loss at Wembley last month with an ankle problem and again required treatment in the loss to City at the Etihad Stadium.
In fact, Howe even confirmed the 25-year-old was playing through the pain barrier after the defeat to the champions last week.
Still, the Toon boss has now revealed Guimaraes hasn’t missed any training since and there is a genuine hope the problem is not a long-term one.
“[Bruno Guimaraes] is fine,” said Howe on Friday (via BBC Sport).
“I don’t think he’s missed any training from that ankle. Touch wood I don’t see a long term problem for him.”
Bruno currently looking like the best hope of goals
With Callum Wilson out of form and Alexander Isak yet to enjoy a run of starts, Howe cannot rely on his strikers to score right now. Miguel Almiron, meanwhile, is struggling to scale previous goalscoring heights and Allan Saint-Maximin hasn’t convinced in a while.
That, then, leaves Guimaraes. Newcastle’s top scorer from midfield with three, the poor form of the forwards puts yet more reliance on him.
If Newcastle are going to get back on track, they need their star man fit and firing.