Eddie Howe has said that Allan Saint-Maximin is “very close” to a Newcastle return.

The Magpies boss was speaking ahead of his side’s return to Premier League action this weekend.

Howe’s charges are currently 10th in the standings after seven games but are without a win since the opening weekend.

In the absence of Saint-Maximin, they have tended to struggle, managing just one goal from open play in the three games the Frenchman has missed.

Medical expert Ben Dinnery claimed on his Premier FPL Injuries YouTube channel that the dazzling winger had suffered a ‘slight setback’ during his rehab.

However, the manager appears to have been handed a boost ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Fulham.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, as relayed by the Chronicle, the English coach did admit Alexander Isak has sustained a muscle injury, although it isn’t as bad as first feared.

Howe also revealed that Bruno Guimaraes would be with the squad and when discussing Saint-Maximin the 44-year-old tactician said: “He is doing well. He is very close.” 

Huge boost 

Dubbed “unplayable” by Rob Lee, the attacking ace was at his scintillating best prior to his injury.
According to WhoScored, he has been the Tynesiders’ best performer with a team-high 7.67 average match rating.

He also ranks first for goal involvements per 90 minutes, having scored a late equaliser prior to hobbling off against Wolves.

Against Manchester City back in August, the 25-year-old stole the show with two assists, as well as winning the free-kick which Kieran Trippier successfully despatched.  

Having him fit once again could provide that cutting edge that the side were lacking against Bournemouth last time out.

Despite controlling possession (72%) the north-east club were held to a draw, with Howe admitting after the game that they missed the “magic” of Saint-Maximin and he could be thrust straight back into the starting line-up as the manager looks to end this winless run.