Newcastle United to ring changes against Bournemouth

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Newcastle United will be without two key players for the clash with Bournemouth.

The Magpies find themselves in 13th place in the Premier League with 39 points, meaning that they're just one point away from the much-coveted 40-point thresh-hold which symbolises safety from relegation.

Few would have imagined that the club would be on the cusp of safety with seven games remaining, and for that Bruce deserves credit.

He will, however, head to the South Coast with a number of injuries.

Florian Lejeune could miss the rest of the season with a thigh injury, while Alain Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie look likely to miss out at the Vitality Stadium.

With a frantic run of fixtures ahead, Bruce has hinted that he could be about to make some changes to his side to keep the squad fresh.

Speaking to Newcastle United's website, he said: “I think it’s only right that I freshen us up.

“I don’t want to go down to Bournemouth, with them not having a game for a week, for the fourth game in 11 days.

“It’s a big call so I will be making some changes, and hopefully that pays off.”

Speaking of Saint-Maximin, Bruce said: "He’s coming to terms with what it’s like to play in the Premier League.

"The lockdown’s done him a bit of good with the niggling hamstrings he’s had which is always a concern when you rely on your pace the way he does, with the power he’s got.

"I think we said when we walked through the door that he was going to get people off their seats – he’s been excellent.

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“He was extremely tired yesterday, but let’s see how he is today in recovery because he has played the three games.

"(With) four games in 11 days, I’m going to use part of the squad, so let’s see how he is and how he trains this afternoon.”

Bruce did, however, admit that Matt Ritchie is likely to miss out with a muscle injury.

He said: "You know what Matt’s like. He was desperate to play, but he was nowhere near it on Friday so we’ll see how he is.

“With a soft tissue injury you can’t really take a risk because if he’s not right then you could risk being out for the rest of the season. But for obvious reasons, he’ll be desperate to play.”

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

Newcastle United will be keen to get back to winning ways against Bournemouth.

After such an impressive victory over Sheffield United, the Magpies would have hoped to follow that up with some good results against Aston Villa and Manchester City.

While that didn't happen, they're still well placed.

Premier League survival is all-but secure, so it's time for them to go out and enjoy their football.

The Cherries are struggling for confidence at the moment, and so if Steve Bruce's side can keep their focus then you wouldn't bet against them getting three points.

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