Eddie Howe has indicated that Bruno Guimaraes and Fabian Schar will be fit to face Wolves at St James’ Park this Sunday.
Bruno looked uncomfortable at the Etihad, taking another knock to his previously injured ankle, while Schar missed out entirely due to a head injury.
However, Howe believes the Brazilian will be fine, playing down any ‘long term’ issues, and expects Schar to return after concussion protocols kept him out of the Man City defeat.
With three goals in our last eight games and no wins in our last six Premier League encounters, fans were surprised to see Alexander Isak, Allan Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock all named on the bench – especially when Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron have looked out of sorts and in need of a rest.
On that, Howe explained that he went with Gordon, Wilson and Almiron to fit in with his “high-intensity” game plan, believing our quality options on the bench could’ve played their part against tiring legs.
Sadly, that decision backfired, as we missed chances and went 2-0 down just after our attacking trio were brought on, leaving Howe with a host of big decisions to make this weekend.
One player he’ll be without against Wolves and Nottingham Forest is Joelinton, accepting he’ll be a real miss after picking up his 10th yellow of the season. Here’s what Howe had to say on all of the above after Saturday’s defeat.
Howe when asked if Isak’s cameo gives him a tough call to make this weekend:
“Yeah, certainly it does. I think he’s growing and learning and developing all the time. I was pleased with his introduction, I was pleased with all the subs’ impact when they came on. That’s a good sign for the future for us.”
Howe on Fabian Schar’s head injury:
“Fabian took a nasty knock to his eye. He had a nasty cut and bruise around that area. He did some tests with the doctor during the week, so quite early in the week, he wasn’t going to be available to play.
“I don’t think Fabian’s history is part of my thinking, but the doctor who has been with us a long period of time knows Fabian’s history. That’s all taken into account with the concussion protocol, that we will follow to the letter.”
Howe on Bruno Guimaraes:
“I thought Bruno was maybe showing the effects of that knock he had on the ankle last week. But I don’t think there’s any long-term problem there.”
Howe on not starting Isak, ASM and Willock:
“I think all decisions are difficult in selection with the quality of the squad we’ve got. They’re tough calls. But I don’t want to become fixated with playing one team.
“I think we’re in a moment now where we have the strength in depth to change our starting line-up. Without predicting the future, I’d like the flexibility to rotate, keep players fresh – and also to use the bench.
“Today’s plan was to use the bench and get fresh players on the pitch, so we could execute the high-intensity game we felt we needed to be competitive in the match.”
Howe on Joelinton’s two-game ban:
“It was probably inevitable it would come, although we’re desperately disappointed that it was today, given the two games we’ve got before the international break, that’s going to be a long absence for him.
“I thought it was a harsh booking for him and he plays on the edge, he’s a fierce competitor, I thought he played very well again today. We’re certainly going to miss him.”
Howe on Anthony Gordon’s display:
“He’s settling well, and I thought he played well. He had some really good moments. I probably wanted him to have the ball more, to be honest. As a team, we maybe needed to supply the ball to our wide men a little bit quicker. But Anthony can be pleased with his work.”