Nick Pope made a clean sheet debut in Newcastle’s opening day win but Sky Sports have reported that he is now a big doubt for this Brighton match only a week later.
On Friday night, Keith Downie (who covers NUFC for Sky Sports) used his Twitter account to say that his information was that the former Burnley keeper could be unavailable, with ‘Martin Dubravka or Karl Darlow ready to deputise’ for him.
During his press conference commitments on Friday morning, Eddie Howe covered the injuries / fitness situation ahead of today’s game, but made no mention of Nick Pope. So presumably, the training session that followed the media interviews has seen the keeper pick up a problem.
The Sky Sports man says it would be a case of Martin Dubravka or Karl Darlow deputising, if Nick Pope is ruled out. However, surely it would be Dubravka automatically taking his place?
Darlow has done ok at times but Dubravka (and Pope) is a far better goalkeeper.
Indeed, I have been amused / bemused at many of the comments from Newcastle fans, especially since Nick Pope got the nod last weekend. I can’t believe the number of NUFC supporters who would be happy to let Dubravka go now, with reports of interest from other clubs.
On the one hand, so many Newcastle fans seeing it as total reliance on Callum Wilson up front and desperately needing another striker / goalscorer, in case Wilson gets injured. The perception (for those fans) being that Chris Wood is not up to the job if called upon to lead the line.
Yet on the other hand, many of those same fans presumably, would be happy to leave us relying on just one Premier League goalkeeper. Meaning just one injury and Karl Darlow is in goal…
Darlow is decent and does his best but isn’t Premier League level, unlike Pope and Dubravka. Indeed, I find it laughable that a lot of fans clearly see Darlow as a better option to end up playing in goal, than Wood playing up front. In his first four Premier League seasons, Chris Wood scored double figures in each of them. Yes, only five in total last season, but at Newcastle he was asked to do a very unselfish role for the team AND didn’t get any level of decent service in goalscoring positions (missed some chances but for me, only really talking he should have got two or three more goals from the opportunities created), most importantly though he helped Newcastle pick up 29 points in his 15 Premier League starts. In comparison, Karl Darlow has only started 52 Premier League games in his entire career, with ironically, Chris Wood having scored a total of 52 career Premier League goals so far.
Anyway, hopefully Callum Wilson AND Nick Pope can stay fit all season, with fingers crossed that the latter can still play today, with any injury issue not preventing that.
If though he is missing, then it would look like seven Newcastle United players in total missing, of the 30 given first team squad numbers ahead of the season.
The other six who are set to miss:
Jonjo Shelvey – Eddie Howe said on Friday, the midfielder expected to miss the next three months after surgery due to a hamstring problem.
Javier Manquillo – Still working his way back to fitness after missing the entire pre-season.
Kell Watts – Out of action after having knee surgery.
Federico Fernandez – Working his way back to full fitness after missing most of pre-season.
Emil Krafth – A surprise absentee from the matchday squad against Forest and Eddie Howe said on Friday that Krafth has had scans but they don’t think there is any serious injury issue to worry about. However, he indicates that Krafth will miss Brighton, as the Swedish defender has to get back to full speed / fitness.
Jamal Lewis – Working his way back to full fitness after missing most of pre-season.