Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has voiced pleasure in the rate Matt Ritchie has been recovering from his ankle injury and hopes to have the midfielder back next month, as told to the Chronicle.
Ritchie has not been seen since suffering the blow against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup in August, and he was forced to undergo a small operation to clear the bone around his ankle at the start of October.
Ritchie was forced to undergo the small operation earlier this month after further assessments revealed a need to clear up the area surrounding his ankle.
Bruce had been encouraged by what progress the former Scotland international had been making, but accepted that the surgery was required, even if it meant Ritchie facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
The 30-year-old wide midfielder has now travelled to the Middle East for a mini pre-season style training camp in the hope that the warm weather will aid his recovery, and Bruce has been pleased by the reports he has received thus far.
“Matt is ok. He is progressing along nicely,” the Toon boss told the Chronicle. “He is doing warm weather training at the moment in the Middle East.
“All the reports I am getting back are good. He’s working hard and hopefully he will be back at the weekend, [and] he will be ok.”
It was hoped before the surgery that Ritchie would be able to make a comeback against Chelsea this Saturday, but it is now expected that the former Bournemouth man will not be able to feature until the Toon play Wolverhampton Wanderers next week.
Failing that, the hope is that Ritchie will be able to feature when Newcastle travel to West Ham United at the start of November, for what could be his fifth appearance of the term across all competitions (TransferMarkt).
Ritchie had started the season as Bruce’s first-choice left-back over summer arrival Jetro Willems, but he will likely face a challenge regaining honours in defence once fit after the on-loan Eintracht Frankfurt man’s recent form.
The Dutchman showed his threat on the break against Liverpool by scoring a thunderous effort during an influential showing at Anfield, and displayed what he can offer in defence last time out against Manchester United with a powerful exhibition, as well as the assist for Matty Longstaff’s winning goal.
Miguel Almiron’s struggles in midfield could see Ritchie return to his natural position, or at least offer Bruce food for thought, though, as the Paraguayan failed to convert his chances against the Red Devils or Brighton and produced just one cross against Leicester in the league encounter last month.
The former Atlanta United star again failed to create anything against Manchester United, too, which saw that he ended the day with just three key passes to his name for the league season thus far (WhoScored).
Which brother can go further in the game?
Newcastle fans, where does Ritchie slot into Bruce’s plans once fit? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Newcastle notifications!