Newcastle’s injury list this season has been longer than those my son writes to Santa Claus at Christmas, but the latest update from Steve Bruce finally contains a piece of positive news.
When Matt Ritchie was the victim of a shocking challenge from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, it was confirmed that he had suffered a nasty injury, and would be facing two months out of the side.
But the news was more upbeat concerning the combative winger in Tuesday’s update from the Newcastle manager.
Bruce told the Northern Echo: “Matt Ritchie being Matt Ritchie is surprising us all. When I looked over today, he was running. He’s back on the training ground running in straight lines. I think that’s better news.”
The fact he is already running again is fantastic news, with Ritchie likely to be pushing for an early return to the squad.
Matt Ritchie must not try to rush his return
Ritchie always gives 100 per cent, and is always pushing the limits during his displays, and it seems his rehabilitation from injury follows a similar pattern.
The worry is that he pushes himself too much, and tries to return too quickly, and ends up suffering a recurrence, as happened to Allan Saint-Maximin.
But it all sounds much brighter which led Bruce to add: “He doesn’t look as if he’ll be eight weeks I wouldn’t think. The way he is at the minute – we don’t put timescales on these things – but closer to four or five weeks might be better.”
So if Ritchie is making such great progress, he could well be back in contention by time Newcastle are due to host Manchester United on Sunday 6 October.
He offers Newcastle so many options, either as a wing-back or an orthodox winger, the thought of him making an earlier than expected return, will delight both Bruce and fans alike.