All Whites coaching staff await Newcastle United’s team list for this weekend’s game against Burnley in the hope it will confirm the fitness of star striker Chris Wood.
Newcastle face the final English Premier League game of their season with an injury cloud above Wood as he receives treatment for an injury that kept him out of United’s last fixture against Arsenal.
At his latest media conference, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: “Chris Wood had a hip problem which we hope isn’t too serious.”
The Premier League Injuries website lists Wood as having a 75% chance of being fit for the Burnley match.
Newcastle travel to Wood’s former club Burnley for their match which kicks off at 3am on Monday May 23 (NZT).
The All Whites coaching staff have been monitoring Wood’s situation with less than a month to go before New Zealand play Costa Rica in their FIFA World Cup play-off in Doha.
When naming Wood in his All Whites squad, head coach Danny Hay said he had talked to Wood recently and he had “tweaked his Achilles slightly.”
Hay said Wood “doesn’t think it’s going to be a long-term injury”.
Hay has previously said Wood’s experience and leadership qualities are a key component of the current All Whites set-up.
Howe on Wood: ‘He’s a galvaniser of those around him’
This is backed up by Wood’s club manager, Howe, who says Wood’s influence on the Newcastle team has been important.
In an interview with the South Sheilds Gazette, Howe said:
“He’s someone that immediately grasped the tactical importance of the position. I would have regular meetings with him about what I wanted him to deliver tactically, and I would never have to tell him twice. Whatever I told him, straight away he would go and deliver it.
“I think that comes with his experience, and the various clubs that he’s played for.
“He enabled us to take the pressure off in certain situations – goal-kicks for us, for example. When we were in the position we were in, battling relegation, I wanted to make the game very simple for the players. I didn’t want it to be too complex, and Chris enabled us to do that. He really helped us in those situations.
“I just think his general, all-round leadership has been very good. He’s a vocal presence in the changing room, and a support if things aren’t going well. You can hear him vocally if things are going well, and he’s a galvaniser of those around him.
“He’s given the team a lot, and he has scored a couple of key goals for us as well. Let’s not forget those. I’m really pleased with him, and the impact he’s made.”