NEWCASTLE have been struck by a crippling injury crisis which could leave them missing EIGHT players for their clash with Liverpool.
Steve Bruce's side know they face a daunting task to get anything from their trip to Anfield this weekend even if everyone is fit.
1 Steve Bruce fears being without eight players when Newcastle take on Liverpool this weekendCredit: Getty Images – Getty
But the Newcastle boss is having to prepare for the game unsure who he will have fit and available to play against Liverpool.
Bruce has confirmed he is definitely without six first team players for the game – but now there are fears another two will be unavailable.
For he is worried about the fitness of defender Fabian Schar, who has been busy playing two games in quick succession with Austria.
And there is a concern over whether forward Miguel Almiron will be in good enough condition to play having been away with with Paraguay.
Bruce said: "I think it was vitally important Fabian Schar, for example, had a couple of days off.
"He’s had two games and probably trained in between them games so we’ll see him.
"Almiron, obviously, is the most difficult one because he’s at the other end of the earth so we hope we can get him back on Thursday or Friday. Let’s see what condition he’s in."
Both Schar and Almiron would be certain starters as Bruce looks to come away from Anfield with at least a point.
But he will have to do so without six others, with Dwight Gayle, Allan Saint-Maximin, Andy Carroll, and Matt Ritchie among them.
Bruce added: "The major ones we’re talking about – Dwight, Andy Carroll and Saint-Maximin – they are a big three to get fit.
"I can’t see any of them being available for this weekend against Liverpool but two of them are progressing.
"Andy, we’ll have to still be patient. However, for the first time today, he joined in with the group to a degree.
"He only took part in half of the session, non contact, but it’s good to see him out kicking a ball again. I always knew that it would be towards the end of this month and halfway through the next month really.
"Dwight’s a big disappointment for me because I have now been here for seven, eight weeks but this injury has not got any better – which is a big concern to all of us.
"Of course, Saint-Maximin is now doing his rehabilitation work. He’s out on the grass. I think we have got to build his fitness levels before we treat his hamstring so there is a bit of a conundrum with him at the moment because he hasn’t really done any pre-season.
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"Because of the knock backs he’s had and the injuries, we haven’t been able to get him up to speed to the level I think he requires.
"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.
"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."