Xenia Sports – London
Steve Bruce revealed two Newcastle players are “not well at all” after contracting coronavirus and warned the disease is not to be underestimated after laying low a couple of elite athletes.
Bruce was taken aback by how quickly the virus swept through the club earlier this month, leading to a closure of their training ground for more than a week and the postponement of their match against Aston Villa on December 4.
Defender Federico Fernandez was one of a number of players infected but he is in contention to face Leeds on Wednesday night after his latest negative test and Bruce is hopeful Newcastle are through the worst of the crisis.
He once again refused to reveal the identities of the players still dealing with the effects of the virus but admitted his worries for them and two members of his backroom staff, who also remain ill.
“One (of the players who had coronavirus) is back – that’s Fernandez,” Bruce said. “He’s tested negative and I can say that because he himself revealed that he’s had the virus. But he’s OK now.
“(Players and staff have had) had three negative tests in the past six days so it does look as if we’ve overcome it. But we’ve got two players in particular who are not well at all and two members of staff who are still poorly.
“We’re relieved that nobody else has got it but we’re also concerned about the members of staff and two players who it’s having a bad effect on.
“If you ever underestimated this thing then don’t, because you’re talking about elite professionals here and the way it got a hold of everybody was quite scary stuff.
“For everybody out there, for goodness’ sake stay safe. I know it’s Christmas but after what we’ve just witnessed then you’ve got to be careful.”
Ryan Fraser is also available for the trip to Elland Road, having been absent since the start of last month because of a hamstring injury while Bruce anticipates making changes to the side that defeated West Brom at the weekend.
Having welcomed back a number of individuals who had recovered from coronavirus on Saturday afternoon, Bruce is keen to inspect their levels of fitness ahead of a busy festive period.
“The one thing I’m looking at is the three or four who played on Saturday, how it’s left them,” Bruce added.
“The big things we’re seeing is probably fatigue more than anything else. We’ll see how we are again but with that in mind I’m probably going to change two or three, just for the after-effects and the games coming up.”