Newcastle: Craig Hope backs Joe Willock to start tomorrow
Craig Hope has insisted that Joe Willock is in line for a return to the Newcastle United starting lineup this weekend.
The Lowdown: Howe to be forced into a midfield changes
Willock and Newcastle were dealt a cruel blow a few weeks ago when he limped off during the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth and he hasn’t started a game since that evening.
That has certainly impacted the Magpies, who have lost every game since then. However, it seems he will be handed a chance to start once more this weekend against Wolves.
With Joelinton set to be absent for the upcoming two fixtures due to him picking up 10 yellow cards this campaign, having Willock back will be a huge and timely boost for Howe.
The Latest: Willock set to start against Wolves
Despite having to settle for a bench role in recent times, including the Carabao Cup final, Hope has insisted on his YouTube channel that Willock is likely to be handed a start this weekend.
He said: “What does he do now in midfield? Joelinton is suspended for two games. The likelihood is that Joe Willock will return alongside Sean Longstaff and Bruno in the middle, with a front three of probably Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and then Anthony Gordon on the left.”
The Verdict: Midfield must be dominant this weekend
It will indeed be a huge test for Willock this weekend if he is to get the nod from Eddie Howe as he’s not started a competitive game for a number of weeks, and he will likely be thrown in against top-tier players such as Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes.
However, the fact that a midfield trio of Bruno Guimaraes, Willock and Sean Longstaff was what served the Magpies so well in the first half of the season, his return could allow Newcastle to get their season back on track.
Over the last few weeks, Newcastle have created a lot of chances against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City, but Howe would likely relinquish all that dominance and attempts at goal if they can somehow just pick up only their second victory this calendar year.