Thu 14 Dec 2023, 18:59 by Ash Harrison

Eddie Howe has now said that Alexander Isak is not 100% fit after returning from injury

Eddie Howe has now said that Alexander Isak is not 100% fit after returning from injury
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Callum Wilson was preferred to Alexander Isak to face AC Milan last night despite it being only the second game since he returned from injury.

With the injury crisis as bad as it is, Eddie Howe is having to manage player fitness like never before and with two injury-prone strikers on the books that's proving to be quite the juggling act for the Newcastle United gaffer.

Alexander Isak was the first of the two strikers to return from injury after a spell where both were unavailable to play. While it was a boost to get him back, he's not looked anything like the £63million goal machine we thought we had on our hands.

Eddie How is trying to manage Alexander Isak's fitness

Isak has managed to find the net since his return but has looked way off the pace in every other regard.

Schar and Isak
Getty Images
Isak has looked off his game since he returned from injury

Eddie Howe still used Isak in the Champions League defeat to AC Milan last night, bringing Anthony Gordon off the field and replacing him with the 24-year-old who operated down the left.

After the game, Howe spoke to Swedish outlet TV4 Play and confirmed what we've been suspecting for a while - Isak is not 100%.

“He has just come back from a serious injury.

“He doesn’t feel completely 100% at the moment. We are trying to keep him in shape.

“I thought he did well when he came in. But I don’t think he’s physically at his best, but hopefully he will be.”

Anthony Gordon picked up a hamstring injury against Milan

Hopefully, now that Wilson is available, Howe can manage the duo's game time to build up their match sharpness instead of over-working them so that they never fully recover.

Especially as now, there's a question mark over the fitness of Anthony Gordon and Kieran Trippier. Both had to be withdrawn from action against Milan.

Gordon has a hamstring issue that needs to be assessed whereas Trippier was battered and bruised after a physical game.

Trippier will miss Saturday's visit of Fulham anyway due to suspension so he should have time to recover. Hopefully, Gordon's injury is nothing serious because we cannot be without him.

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