DUBAI: Key Newcastle United duo Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson are edging closer to a first-team return, according to head coach Eddie Howe.
Top-scorer Wilson and January signing Trippier suffered potentially season-ending injuries, the former sustaining a calf and Achilles problem in the home draw with Manchester United on Dec. 28, and the latter broke a bone in his left foot in February, just five games after signing from Atletico Madrid.
The injured pair are in Dubai this week with the rest of the Newcastle squad taking part in a warm weather training camp at the Nad Al-Sheba Sports Complex.
And while Howe has not put a return date on either player, he has raised hopes the pair may be back sooner than many expected.
“I’d say they’re on schedule from where they were given their respective injuries, but I wouldn’t say necessarily ahead of schedule,” said Howe. “They’re both serious injuries, both enough to obviously be operated on and go through a very intense rehab period.”
He added: “Callum’s injury, you have to be very careful with; that we don’t push him back too quickly and he ends up injuring himself again, because the Achilles/calf is a very delicate area of the body and you need to make sure it’s robust enough to withstand heavy load.
“Kieran’s is slightly different. (It is) a bone injury and I think, touch wood, if he can come through the early stages of coming out in his boots and then progressing quite quickly, he’s one we could see back in action hopefully pretty soon.”
The Magpies coach warned: “But with both injuries, I do think we have to be very cautious. We don’t want to re-injure the player.”
Despite leaving a number of players out of the 25-man Premier League squad for the second half of the season, Howe has shown a willingness to keep those outside the group involved.
Republic of Ireland international Ciaran Clark has been pictured training with the rest of the squad out in the Middle East, despite not being able to play for the rest of the campaign due to his deselection.
Isaac Hayden is another player who faces an uncertain future at Newcastle, along with sidelined Jamal Lewis.
Having undergone surgery on his knee, former Arsenal man Hayden was left out of the squad, along with Lewis, but did get an invite to Dubai this week.
Howe said: “Jamal’s had a long-standing groin problem and I was really pleased to see him operated on. We hope that that’s fixed his long-standing problem and he will, again, be okay in a relatively short period of time to return to training with us.
“And Isaac’s been working after having a serious knee injury — again, one he’d played with for a long period of time. Touch wood, he’ll be back training soon.”