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Newcastle boss Bruce gives the all-clear from Covid-19 testing

Newcastle United have overcome the Covid-19 outbreak that stalled their season this month and everyone at the club has now tested negative ahead of Wednesday’s (Dec 16) English Premier League match at Leeds United, manager Steve Bruce said on Tuesday.

Newcastle’s training ground was closed after several players and staff were stricken by the coronavirus earlier this month, forcing their game against Aston Villa to be postponed.

A depleted squad managed to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 over the weekend, with many players playing out of position, and Bruce was relieved to have first-team regulars back in contention ahead of a fixture crunch with six games in 18 days.

“Thankfully, we’ve all tested negative, that’s three negative over the last six days so it does seem like we’ve overcome it. The crucial thing was shutting down the training ground and it’s paid dividends,” Bruce said.

“Federico Fernandez has tested negative and he is back. The big thing we are seeing from Saturday is fatigue, so we’ll see how they are but I’m going to make changes. Ryan Fraser is fully fit and ready to go, he will be involved.

“We’re going to have to monitor it and approach it in the right way. The response from the players to get the win on Saturday was terrific. The first time we trained was on Wednesday, so their attitude was there for everyone to see.”

Newcastle, 12th, are three points ahead of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds and Bruce said he expects a physical contest against one of the fittest teams in the league.

“Physically, they’re No. 1 in the Premier League. They have the ability to run long distances very quickly and that’s something Bielsa has brought in,” Bruce said.

“He’s a top-class coach and manager. They’ve blown teams away doing that and we have to be ready.” – REUTERS

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