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.
“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.”
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.”
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
- Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
- Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
- Any other exceptional circumstances.
Follow every Newcastle game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.
Want the Newcastle latest? Bookmark our Newcastle news page, check out Newcastle’s fixtures and Newcastle’s latest results, watch Newcastle goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Newcastle games are coming up live on Sky Sports.
Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Newcastle as your favourite team.
Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.