Newcastle United’s overworked medical team are having to perform “magic” to keep the club on course.
That’s the view of assistant manager Paul Simpson as the Magpies battle to contain an injury crisis.
Newcastle have seen Karl Darlow, Steven Taylor, Daryl Janmaat, Paul Dummett, Massadio Haidara, Jack Colback, Gabriel Obertan, Rolando Aarons, Kevin Mbabu and Papiss Cisse all in the treatment room at some point over the last few weeks, with Tim Krul adding to their problems with his season-ending injury.
But boss Steve McClaren is hopeful of still having a strong squad at his disposal for Sunday’s visit of Norwich City as bottom club Newcastle look for their first Premier League win of the campaign.
Janmaat, Dummett and Colback look set to be ready to face the Canaries, while Haidara and Mbabu are working their way back to fitness.
Simpson said: “It’s been a horrible time for them (the medical staff) in there – they’ll be sick of the sight of some of the faces in there.
“But we’re hopeful that after this international break we should have more players back fit again.
“Obviously as some come out of the room then others go in (like) in Tim’s case.
“We’re asking the medical department to be working overtime, but they’re pulling out all the stops trying to get all the lads out.
“And credit to them that we’re actually being able to consider Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara and Jack Colback for this weekend.
“We’ll keep them working this week and hopefully they can perform their magic and get them out for us.
“Further back down the line are the likes of Rolando Aarons, who we’re hoping will join in training next week.
“Gabby Obertan is still a few weeks away. Karl Darlow is a few weeks away.
“Kevin Mbabu we’re keeping our fingers crossed that he may have a chance for the weekend but it’s possibly going to be maybe one week too early but we’ll assess that as we’re going along.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits to feeling heartache at missing out on Euro 2016 qualification with Holland.
“It will take some time before we are above this,” Wijnaldum said.
“If we look at the TV next year and see the European Championships, we get the kick again.
“But we are footballers, we must continue. Although this is very difficult now as it is going to take a while before we have processed this blow.”
Holland needed to win, and for Turkey to lose against Iceland, in order to finish third in Group A and secure a play-off place.
But their defeat against the 10-man Czechs, coupled with Turkey’s victory, meant a night of despair for Wijnaldum and Newcastle team-mate Vurnon Anita, who was an unused sub.
And for the 23-year-old, who starred at last year’s World Cup when the Netherlands finished third, it is a blow not just for him, but for young players coming through in Holland.
“We certainly believed in a happy ending, but it was annoying that we had to depend on another match,” added Wijnaldum. “But we have not done what we needed to do.
“The World Cup last year has done a lot for the development of myself and Memphis Depay example. That we are going to miss.
“So the absence of the European Championship is a great loss for the players, but especially for the Netherlands as a whole.
“For right now after the elimination, to call what we do is not wise. Let us first analyse everything calmly and only then draw conclusions.”