Allan Saint-Maximin 'closer' to Newcastle United injury comeback ahead of Brighton and Hove Albion game

Eddie Howe issued a new update on Allan Saint-Maximin’s fitness – after his team climbed up to 14th place.

Saint-Maximin missed Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Brentford with the calf problem which had kept him out of the previous weekend’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United.

Howe had pledged to make a “late call” on the winger, who spent the week in Monaco undergoing “intensive treatment”.

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However, United’s head coach admitted at the Brentford Community Stadium that the 24-year-old was “some way short”, in the end, of making his return in the fixture.

Saint-Maximin – who suffered the injury in this month’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa – could now make his comeback in Saturday’s home game against Brighton and Hove Albion.

“We hoped Allan would make it, but he was some way short in the end,” said Howe, who will be without Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier until late in the season.

“We’re now keeping our fingers crossed, and hoping we can get him ready for next week. I think he’ll be a lot closer for that game.

“He’s a massive player for us, and we’re very aware that we need him back, but it’s very good to see the team able to cope. If you see the players that are missing, there are some really outstanding individuals, but the team's being strong enough at the moment.”

Allan Saint-Maximin.

Newcastle, seven games unbeaten, are now four points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone after taking 13 points from a possible 15 in their last five matches.

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Howe said: “We have to remain very focused, and not get carried away. We have to guard against complacency, and do everything we can to improve. There’s no sense that we have achieved our goal yet.”

The game saw Christian Eriksen – who suffered a cardiac arrest playing for Denmark at Euro 2020 last summer – make his Brentford debut.

“I’m very tunnel-visioned when I’m in game mode, but even I had to take myself away from that – and stand back,” said Howe.

“Everyone’s very thankful to see him back on a football pitch. It was very emotional for him and for Brentford."