In the Premier League, Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has admitted that his side are facing a defensive injury crisis ahead of tomorrow’s game against Southampton at St James’ Park.
The guests arrive after a humiliating 9-0 defeat at Manchester United. At today’s press conference, the Magpie head coach said he needed the team he picks to be ready to fight:
We have been without major injuries or illnesses for weeks and weeks and it has damaged us badly. We hope we can handle it. We hope we have enough depth to deal with the defensive areas but certainly we are working to the limit but who wouldn’t if you have three or four for the same position then you are against it.
Steve Bruce, Newcastle United head coach
Skippers Jamaal Lascelles (thigh) and Federico Fernandez (muscle) are out, while Paul Dummett (muscle) and Jamal Lewis (thigh) have doubts and father-to-be Ciaran Clark could also be out.
The Joe Willock loan signing is available for the first time since his temporary move from Arsenal, while midfielder Matt Ritchie is returning to the squad after the collapse of his scheduled Bournemouth return.
Christian Atsu was added to the 25-man squad due to DeAndre Yedlin’s departure to Galatasaray.
It’s off the championship frying pan and on the fire for Middlesbrough tomorrow.
After last week’s goalless draw with leaders Norwich, Boro will face second-placed Brentford on Riverside.
Head coach Neil Warnock was looking forward to the game against the best team in the league.
Wow, they have goals from all over the place, the best striker in the division. It looks like there is only one way they will really go and it’s a great game for us.
Neil Warnock, head coach, Middlesbrough
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson says he will warn players not to take anything for granted tomorrow.
On Tuesday night, the Black Cats went to Milton Keynes and defeated the Dons with three goals to zero in the EFL Trophy.
You’re back tomorrow for a League One fixture and Johnson is ready for the MK mind games.
We know how difficult the game is going to be, so the psychology of playing your game is. We need to gain as much control as possible, whether on the ball or off the ball.
Lee Johnson, head coach, Sunderland AFC
In the minor leagues, Harrogate Town is in the second division against Crawley and Hartlepool’s away game in Dover has been suspended due to a wet field.
However, Hartlepool has confirmed that they want to play this season. Clubs in the national leagues are voting on whether to continue or stop now and declare the campaign null and void.
Hartlepool, who is in the fight for promotion, understandably wants to continue. But most of the clubs in the next move, the National League North, want to quit now because the government grants that helped them survive without fans will soon end.
For example, Spennymoor Town said they voted zero and null. They are NOT going to complete tomorrow’s game at Telford and they do NOT intend to play again this season.