Eddie Howe spoke to the media this morning ahead of Tuesday night's Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea.
The Newcastle United gaffer is starting to see some end to the injury crisis which has plagued the club since the start of the season, and although two more players had to be withdrawn from the game against Fulham on Saturday, it's thought that their absence from the team will be brief.
There are still others who won't see any action until the New Year. The likes of Jacob Murphy, Harvey Barnes and Elliot Anderson are all looking like they won't play any more football in 2023, but one man who is making his comeback is £35million defender Sven Botman,
The 23-year-old has been missing for three months with a knee injury but made his return in the last 10 minutes of the game on Saturday.
While it was a brief cameo, it was long enough to remind us exactly what we've been missing during his absence. Now Eddie Howe has highlighted his importance during his press conference this morning (via The Chronicle).
"I think all the players are popular with each other and there's a good feeling about each other. But there's certain players that lift the team and Sven is one of those. He gives confidence to other people. The confidence he has when he passes the ball, it makes a difference to everyone. We've missed his presence on the pitch."
Howe has also hinted that Botman is in contention to start against Chelsea which would be a surprise, but a welcome one nonetheless.
"Sven has done a lot of work, his rehab. We have to make a decision whether to start him. He’s done a lot of work. We are happy with that workload."
We don't expect that Botman will start tomorrow night, but we do think he'll play some part in the game and then he could return to the starting lineup at the weekend against Luton.
We're looking for talented writers and social media wizards to join our team. No experience required. To apply, email us with a bit about yourself, and some sample work/ideas.