Newcastle United defender Emil Krafth is set to make his return from a 13-month injury lay-off on Friday evening.
Krafth hasn’t featured for Newcastle since suffering a serious ACL injury in the Carabao Cup match at Tranmere Rovers last August. The 29-year-old has recently returned to training and will be part of the Newcastle Under-21s squad to face Nottingham Forest Under-21s in the Premier League 2 Division 2 at Whitley Park this Friday evening (7pm kick-off).
United head coach Eddie Howe provided an injury update on his players ahead of the Premier League match against Burnley at St James’ Park on Saturday, with Krafth, Harvey Barnes (foot) and Joe Willock (Achilles) already ruled out.
“Harvey is obviously out and the other long-termers continue to be out – Joe Willock is out and Emil Krafth is out but he plays tonight for the Under-21s which is really good to see,” Howe said during his pre-match press conference.
And when reflecting on Krafth’s return to first-team training earlier this month, Howe told The Gazette: “It’s early steps for Emil but great to see him back, he’s a brilliant character.
“He’s got better with each [training session] and I think the group are happy to see him with us again, he’s got a great mentality and is a vital part of our squad.”
While Krafth could potentially come back into the first-team picture within the next month, Harvey Barnes could be out until 2024 and Willock is still facing several weeks on the sidelines after four months out.
Providing an update on Willock, Howe said: “He’s doing well. We hope in a different phase now of his comeback he’s on the grass, not with us but the physios and sports scientists really trying to build up his reliance and his load.
“Doing well, looks happy. I think the physios have set quite a good time for him to come back. I don’t think we’re going to rush him back, I think we’re going to be careful.
“He’s still got a way to go. I think he’s due to return to training towards the middle to end of October and then of course he’ll need a little bit of time to get his proper fitness back.”