Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has issued a concerning update ahead of his side’s Carabao Cup meeting with Manchester United.
The Magpies will be without Sven Botman for the crunch encounter, with Howe admitting the defender’s prognosis remains ‘unclear’ after picking up a knee injury in last month’s 8-0 win over Sheffield United.
Botman has been a vital part of Newcastle’s defensive set-up since he arrived at St James’ Park and has already made six appearances in all competitions this term, bagging a goal and an assist.
Howe has been forced to call upon Magpies skipper Jamaal Lascelles in Botman’s absence, and the Englishman is likely to deputise for his Dutch counterpart in Wednesday’s high-profile showdown.
“Botman is unclear at the moment, so we’re doing day by day with that currently,” Howe said in his pre-match press conference (via The Athletic).
“There is an issue there, and we’re working through various options to try and diagnose the injury properly. We’re still awaiting clarity on what exactly is happening with his situation.”
Howe also confirmed that Swedish striker Alexander Isak is unlikely to return before the next international break after limping off with a groin injury during the Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
Javier Manquillo remains sidelined with a groin problem, while Jacob Murphy is also expected to sit out the trip to Man United after sustaining a shoulder injury.
Howe also claimed he would expect a World Cup in Saudi Arabia to be ‘structurally really good’, with the Middle East nation now in pole position to secure hosting rights for the 2034 showpiece tournament.
Australia confirmed they will not submit a bid for the competition, leaving Saudi as the front-runners, and Howe appeared optimistic about the prospect of a World Cup tournament in the Middle East.
“I’ve no idea really,” Howe added. “Our trips out there and have been to two different places in Riyadh and Jeddah were two different experiences really.
“Wherever we went was really well organised and we well looked after, so I think if that’s a sign of what a World Cup might look then you can rest assured that everything will be structurally really good.”
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