Eddie Howe: Newcastle struggling to field team for Everton game

Newcastle United are “dangerously close” to being unable to field a full team for their Premier League trip to Everton on Thursday, manager Eddie Howe has said.

Newcastle were only able to name eight substitutes, including two goalkeepers, instead of the maximum nine for Monday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, with the squad depleted due to injuries and COVID-19 cases.

They also lost Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson to injury against United, adding to Howe’s selection woes.

“The lads gave everything but we are thin on the ground in terms of bodies,” Howe told Sky Sports.

Eddie Howe says his squad is stretched ahead of Newcastle’s game with Everton

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Eddie Howe was left ‘very disappointed’ after Newcastle were pegged back to draw 1-1 with Manchester United

“These are difficult moments for us. I believe it’s 13 plus a goalkeeper [players required for a game to proceed]. We’re going to be dangerously close to that number.

“Callum’s injury doesn’t look good. Just the way he went down with no one around him. Allan, I don’t think is as serious.”

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights as Manchester United fought back to claim a draw against Newcastle in the Premier League

Newcastle have won only one of their eight games under Howe and are second bottom of the Premier League.

Asked if he expects the game with Everton to go ahead, Howe later said: “I don’t know. We’ll see what the situation is with the players that we have.”

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Unlike Newcastle who have played all their scheduled games so far this month in the top flight, Rafael Benitez’s side have seen two of their December fixtures – against Burnley and Leicester – called off because of coronavirus cases.

What are the Premier League rules around postponements?

After the postponement of a number of games in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a new Premier League guide explaining match postponement protocols was published.

And there, these factors are considered when deciding whether to postpone a top-flight game:

  1. The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
  2. The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
  3. A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
  4. Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
  5. Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
  6. Any other exceptional circumstances.

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