The three big selection calls Eddie Howe is pondering in Newcastle United’s showdown with Man United

Nick Pope’s lack of match practice is giving Eddie Howe a serious concern going into the last two Premier League matches of the season.

The England international has not played since the corresponding fixture between Man United at St James’ Park and Martin Dubravka has recaptured his best form for the Magpies. Therefore, it would be a potential gamble to disrupt things going into what is a crucial and possible season-defining night.

Pope has so far not been risked but will benefit from a strong pre-season although his own England chances depend on time in the Premier League spotlight. It makes for a tough call for Howe ahead of the last two crucial games.

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Howe told Chronicle Live: “Nick’s come back from a serious injury. This isn’t a minor problem he had, it’s a major problem to a big area of the body for a goalkeeper. Yes, he’s been back technically fit. But he’s still getting his rhythm back from the training work he’s doing, even now.

“I’ve been really pleased with how he’s looked, and he’s continued to improve through training, but in every game, I have decisions to make, and that will be one.”

Howe also has to make a similar call on whether fit-again Kieran Trippier walks back into the starting XI at the expense of either Tino Livramento or Lewis Hall. The young full-back duo were outstanding in the Carabao Cup tie at Old Trafford earlier in the season and Howe may also opt against disruption.

Another big call will be whether to bring Miguel Almiron or Joelinton back in from the start. Howe said: “It is nice to have those options. But I need to look at them individually. I cannot lump them together because they have both had different injuries.

“It is really good to be in the position to make attacking changes with those who have undoubted qualities. But we are still limited on numbers so anyone who is fit is basically on the bench.”

Many fans believe Joelinton should return to the team sooner rather than later but after recovering from a thigh injury, Howe said: “His was a serious injury and required an operation, so I need to ensure he is the Joelinton we know and not someone who is trying to find his rhythm with two games to go. That would be foolish of me.”

View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/three-big-selection-calls-eddie-29167015

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