Steve Bruce confirmed Matt Ritchie will miss a reunion with his former club on Saturday, as the Newcastle star has suffered a “reaction” in training, according to the Chronicle.
The former Scotland international has been missing since the poor challenge by Hamza Choudhury in the EFL Cup defeat in August, and has had surgery to try to repair the damage.
Although his replacement, Jetro Willems, has been in excellent form in Ritchie’s absence, Newcastle have missed the leadership qualities of the 30-year-old, particularly in the attacking third.
Bruce had hoped to have the combative winger-turned-wing-back in the squad this weekend, and despite Willems proving to be a more than adequate stand-in, it is still a blow to the Newcastle manager.
Ritchie’s return could have given Bruce extra options from the bench
Just having Ritchie on the bench would have been a fillip for the side, and would have given Bruce plenty of options, should he need to change things in the second half against the Cherries on Saturday.
Eddie Howe is likely to be relieved by Ritchie’s continued absence, with his former player scoring a spectacular last minute equaliser at the Vitality Stadium last season, to earn Newcastle a deserved point.
But it is not all doom and gloom for Bruce, with Willems and new cult hero Allan Saint-Maximin forming a fantastic partnership on the left. In many ways, the continuity after last weekend’s win could actually be a good thing.